Target: Thomas Perez, Secretary of Labor
Goal: Raise the threshold for guaranteed overtime pay from $23,660. to $53,000.
If you make more than $23,660. in the United States, you’re considered too affluent to be guaranteed overtime, which means your employer is free to make you work longer hours for no additional pay. If this amount seems like it’s out of another era, that’s because it is. $23,660. was determined to be the overtime threshold back in the 1970’s, when minimum wage rose from $1.60 in 1970 to $2.90 in 1979. Today, $23,660. is below the poverty line for a family of four, and allowing businesses to deny guaranteed overtime to employees who work just over this amount is a license to steal from a vulnerable person.
The threshold for overtime labor hasn’t been raised for 40 years and it’s shamefully low. Full time workers making little more than minimum wage can be forced to work 50, 60, even 70 hours/week with no additional compensation. Clearly, employers have quite a gift here. It’s perfectly legal to totally exploit workers for maximum productivity and give them nothing for it.
President Obama is considering a rule change that would more than double the threshold for overtime to $53,000. That would extend overtime protection to as many as 10 million hard working Americans. Obama can do this by executive order. He doesn’t need Congress to proceed. We must encourage him to stop an injustice and bring the overtime threshold into the 21st century where it belongs. We must stop letting employers rob workers of overtime pay.
Dear Secretary Perez,
Overtime thresholds in this country haven’t moved since the 1970’s, when minimum wage ranged from $1.60 to $2.90. A dollar bought a great deal more 40 years ago than it does now. Today, someone making $23,660. and supporting a family of four is beneath the poverty line. In spite of that, these workers can be legally made to work 50, 60, even 70 hours/week for no additional pay. This injustice must stop.
Forcing someone who is already struggling economically to work additional hours for no additional compensation is extremely unjust. There is no moral justification for doing this. It’s a loophole created by Congress, which has neglected to adjust an income threshold that is obviously very far out of date. President Obama could raise this threshold by executive order and has indicated a willingness to lift overtime protection to $53,000. He should be urged to do this through every means available in order to stop the legal theft of overtime pay.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lewis Hine