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News from EPI The overtime time rule must be protected

Presidential candidate Donald Trump was quoted as saying he would roll back President Obama’s updates to the overtime rule, which will raise the threshold under which all workers are guaranteed overtime from $23,660 to $47,476, putting $12 billion in the pockets of workers over the next decade.

“Donald Trump apparently thinks that employees paid $47,476 don’t deserve overtime pay, at least not yet. A candidate who wants to help the middle class would support a stronger overtime rule,” said EPI President Lawrence Mishel. “It’s time for workers who work long hours to get paid for their extra effort or be allowed to go home after 40 hours a week.”

In the 1960s and 1970s, about 50 percent of workers were guaranteed overtime pay because of their low salaries. But current overtime rules haven’t kept up with salaries and the cost of living, and today less than 10 percent of salaried workers are covered. The updated overtime rule will extend coverage to another 12.5 million more working people.

Trump’s comments follow other efforts to weaken the overtime rule, which is one of the Obama administration’s most important efforts to raise wages for the middle class. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D–Ore.) introduced a bill that would delay the salary threshold increase incrementally over three years. Additionally, the Schrader bill would prevent the salary threshold from being indexed, so it would automatically increase alongside overall salary growth. According an EPI analysis, this would lower the share of those who would be covered by the threshold from 33 percent to just 16 percent by 2035.