Change would guarantee overtime pay to nearly 200k MI workers

Today Governor Gretchen Whitmer directed the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to submit a request for rulemaking to expand the right to overtime pay to more Michigan workers.

Changes in federal law are set to extend overtime pay rights to workers making up to $35,500, but even then less than one in six Michiganders will benefit, down from a peak of more than 60% of workers.

“In America, hard work should be recognized and rewarded. When I was growing up, that meant you got overtime if you worked more than 40 hours,” said Whitmer. “President Obama took the first step towards restoring this right for millions of Americans five years ago, and if his proposed rule had taken effect, workers earning up to $51,000 today would be eligible for overtime pay. Instead, President Trump took a big step backwards when he implemented a rule that leaves 200,000 Michigan workers behind. That’s why today I’m directing the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to take action that will extend the right to overtime pay for thousands of Michigan workers. Strengthening paychecks is good for families, good for business, and good for our economy. It’s time to get it done.”

According to the United Way’s ALICE report on financially struggling households, families need an annual salary of $61,000 just to afford the basics and support a family of four. Families that live below the ALICE threshold struggle to pay for health care, childcare, car insurance, and healthy food for their children.

 

“Governor Whitmer’s directive to increase overtime pay protections is good for workers and good for Michigan’s economy. This directive begins the rulemaking process, which will include feedback from businesses and key stakeholders, and we look forward to their participation as we move forward,” said Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio.

Increasing overtime pay protections is good for Michigan workers and businesses across the state.

In 2014, the Obama Administration sought to increase the overtime threshold to $47,476.

Rather than supporting the original proposal, the Trump Administration abandoned the historic expansion and finalized their own level of just $35,568, which will leave nearly 200,000 Michiganders without access to overtime pay.

As a result, more and more states are expanding the right to overtime pay.

California is raising its threshold to $62,400 by 2022.

New York is raising its to $58,500 by dates between 2019 and the mid-2020’s varying by region.

Washington State and Pennsylvania are finalizing agency rules to raise it to $79,872 by 2026, and $45,500 by 2022, respectively.

Massachusetts has proposed raising it to $64,000 by 2022, and Maine to $55,000 by 2022.

Heidi Shierholz, former Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, said the governor is stepping up for the hard-working people of Michigan.

“I applaud this move, particularly given that the Trump administration recently published a weak overtime rule that would leave almost 200,000 Michigan workers behind,” she said. “The Governor’s proposal embodies the idea of a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work is the right move for Michigan families and the Michigan economy.”

M. Patricia Smith, former U.S. Solicitor of Labor, United States Department of Labor and Senior Counsel, National Employment Law Project, also commented.

“The National Employment Law Project applauds Governor Whitmer’s announcement that Michigan will raise its overtime threshold to protect the state’s middle class workers,” she said. “Overtime pay has been eroding for decades allowing thousands of Michigan workers to be made to work long hours with no extra pay for their hard work and dedication. Michigan is joining the growing number of states that are stepping in to protect overtime pay now that the Trump Administration has rolled back stronger federal overtime protections leaving millions of U.S. workers behind. By moving to restore overtime protections Governor Whitmer can help restore the forty hour work week – and ensure when Michigan workers have to put in extra hours, they’re paid fairly.”

Senator Jim Ananich, Senate District 27, said, “Salaried workers who put in more than 40 hours per week at their jobs deserve a long-overdue raise. These are the folks that keep our businesses and offices running, and without guaranteed overtime pay, their hard work after hours comes at a great personal cost. Increasing the overtime threshold ensures employees are compensated fairly for their work, and I am glad to see Governor Whitmer leading the way to get this done.”

Once the request for rulemaking is submitted, the process to finalize an overtime rule could take between 6 to 12 months.

To view the full request for rulemaking, click the link below:

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