It’s simple: if you work extra hours, you should earn extra pay
Four and a half years ago in Columbus, I stood with then-Vice President Biden and the Secretary of Labor, and we announced that the administration was going to finally raise the salary threshold to earn overtime pay, making millions more workers eligible.
The rule would have meant more than 4 million Americans – including more than 130,000 Ohioans – would get a raise. However, those workers never got that raise because politicians around the country sued to stop it.
Right now, workers earning more than $35,568 per year aren’t eligible to earn any overtime pay at all. That means people making $38,000 or $40,000 a year can be forced to work 50, 60, and 70 hour weeks, without getting a cent in overtime.
We need to raise that threshold, and we need to make updates automatic to keep up with the rest of the economy.
That’s why I sent a letter to the Secretary of Labor asking the new administration to set the threshold at the 55th percentile of earnings of full-timed salaried workers – meaning the majority of salaried workers, including tens of thousands of Ohioans, would get the overtime pay they’ve earned.
For workers who already put in long hours, it will mean more money in their pockets to put food on the table, pay down student loan debt, and save for the future.
For others, it will mean extra time they aren’t forced to work without pay, so they can spend time sitting down around the dinner table with their family, or when they’re fully vaccinated, take the kids out to the movies or a baseball game.
It all comes back to the Dignity of Work – if you put in the hours, hard work should pay off.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.