An ‘Economic Lifeline for Millions is Finally Restored’ Thanks to Final Overtime Rule

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“The final overtime rule the U.S. Department of Labor will issue tomorrow will finally end the days when people who work long hours for poverty wages are not required to receive overtime pay. By updating wage and hour protections that have been allowed to erode for decades, the new rule will put more money or more time in the hands of workers who have long deserved more of both. It will make an enormous difference for millions of working women that this economic lifeline is finally restored.

It is shameful that, in our nation today, millions of people work long hours and yet cannot afford food and other basic necessities for their families. Right now, only hourly workers and those who are paid salaries less than $23,660 per year are eligible for overtime pay. This rule will raise that salary threshold to $47,476 per year so that millions more of the salaried, low- and middle-income workers the law was intended to support are covered by its protections. It also establishes a critical mechanism for automatically updating that number going forward.

This new rule is a historic advance for fair pay and equal opportunity, and workers and families in every corner of the country will benefit. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that a total of 12.5 million workers will be newly eligible for overtime pay or see their existing rights strengthened, including 6.4 million women. As key breadwinners and primary caregivers in most families, women’s wages and time are essential for their families’ and our economy’s financial security and well-being.

We applaud the Labor Department for issuing a strong final rule and President Obama for ordering this badly needed update. These changes send a clear and important message that blatant worker exploitation will not be tolerated in this country, and that people who work long hours must be fairly compensated and must not be forced to choose between making ends meet and family time or care. This rule helps restore basic fairness to our nation’s workplaces, and it will benefit the country tremendously.”

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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