Hope You Weren't Too Excited About That Overtime Pay, People Making From $24,000 To $47,000 A Year!
This past May, the Department of Labor announced a new rule, meant to go in effect in December, which would make salaried employees making less than $47,476 eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours a week. Currently, the threshold is only $23,660. This is a really big deal, and would certainly mean a lot to the 4.2 million workers who would benefit from this rule.
Alas! Texas U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant has blocked that rule, placing an injunction on it for the time being.
“Due to the approaching effective date of the Final Rule, the Court’s ability to render a meaningful decision on the merits is in jeopardy,” he wrote. “A preliminary injunction preserves the status quo while the Court determines the department’s authority to make the Final Rule as well as the Final Rule’s validity.”
HAHA, 4.2 million workers who were looking to have more money next year! Joke is on you! Especially because Donald Trump has already stated that he did not like that overtime rule at all -- meaning that the DOL will very likely not be fighting Judge Mazzant's ruling.
And that is not just bad for those 4.2 million workers. It's also bad for the unemployed or underemployed in this country.
Now, the cool thing, of course, these days, is to brag about how you work SO MUCH more than 40 hours a week, while still only getting paid for 40 hours a week. You know, because you are such a hard worker and a go-getter. Who is the sucker in this situation? You are! And that's fine, be a sucker all you want (although I would argue that making letting labor laws and rules slide the "new normal" is bad for all workers across the board) -- but doing this also has the effect of taking away a job that another person could have. You working 20 hours extra for free means that someone else isn't working those hours.
Overtime doesn't just exist to give employees "money" for working more hours than they are supposed to work. It also exists to spur job growth. So, instead of hiring two people and working them 60 hours a week, an employer is gently nudged in the direction of hiring three people to work 40 hours a week each. It's purposely making it more cost effective to hire more people than to hire fewer. It also makes it more cost effective to pay your current employees more than $24,000 a year if you'd still like them to work overtime without getting paid for it. By increasing the salary requirement for receiving overtime pay, we increase the amount of better paying jobs that are needed, and the amount of money workers get across the board.
The critics of increasing the salary threshold for overtime pay say that it hurts small businesses. And, you know, they're not entirely wrong. It is a lot cheaper for a small business to pay two people $40,000 a year for working 60 hours a week each than it is to pay those people overtime or to pay three people $40,000 a year. Obviously! It would be even cheaper to not pay them at all. But being a small business does not mean anyone is entitled to free labor. It doesn't mean that we should expect workers to take it in the chin just so someone else can turn a profit off of their labor. We ask a lot of sacrifice from workers in this country, in order to attend to the needs of "job creators" and we haven't balanced that out in a long while.
So! While all these Trump supporters are going around complaining that undocumented immigrants are taking all the jobs, Donald Trump will be going around and actually making sure that workers of all kinds will be getting paid less, and that we will have fewer jobs than we would have if the final rule were implemented. How nice for everyone!
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse