HARRISBURG — Today, the U.S. Department of Labor announced its final overtime rule, which will set the threshold under which salaried workers are automatically entitled to overtime pay to an inadequate $35,568 a year. As we stated when the rule was proposed in March, the rule leaves behind millions of middle-class salaried workers who should be receiving overtime pay for their work.
“The overtime rule was a great chance for the Trump administration to make the economy less rigged against regular workers but it chose instead to stand with the corporations that routinely take advantage of overworked, underpaid salaried employees,” said Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Keystone Research Center.
In Pennsylvania alone, over 310,000 workers are left behind by the Trump overtime rule compared to a 2016 proposal. That 2016 rule, proposed under the Obama administration, would have made all salaried workers earning less than $47,476 entitled to overtime pay. The Trump proposal also falls far short of Governor Wolf’s plan, initiated in June 2018, to phase in an increase in the Pennsylvania salary to about $48,000.
For context, shortly before the 2016 rule was set to go into effect, a district court judge in Texas blocked the department from enforcing the rule. In their review of a potential overtime rule change, the Trump Administration significantly scaled back the salary threshold compared to the 2016 proposal. In all, U.S. workers will lose $1.4 billion in wages in 2020 under the Trump administration’s rule, rising to $1.9 billion in 2029.
“Fortunately, when a Texas court derailed the 2016 increase, Governor Wolf jumped to the defense of hard-working Pennsylvania salaried workers who deserve overtime pay when they work long hours,” Herzenberg continued. “These salaried workers are the backbone of many of our businesses small and large—opening restaurants early, closing department stores late, welcoming families in college admissions departments, serving customers in branch banks, and patients at health clinics. The inadequate federal rule makes it critically important that the Wolf proposal move to implementation.”