Breakthrough Web Design - 515-897-1144 - Web sites for businesses
News & Entertainment for Mason City, Clear Lake & the Entire North Iowa Region

Founded October 1, 2010

Harkin, other Senators introduce legislation to restore overtime pay for salaried workers

This news story was published on June 21, 2014.
Advertise on NIT Subscribe to NIT

dollars-moneyWASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, along with eight Senate Democrats, introduced legislation to restore overtime protections for low- and mid-wage salaried workers. The Restoring Overtime Pay for Working Americans Act would help to restore the 40-hour workweek for these workers. Today, only 12 percent of salaried workers are guaranteed overtime pay based on their salaries, compared to 65 percent in 1975. This bill would restore overtime protections by guaranteeing coverage to approximately 47 percent of salaried workers, would ensure that people who work more get paid more, and boost incomes for those who work longer hours.

“Every worker deserves a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work, but because our overtime laws are out-of-date, Americans around the country who work long hours away from their families are denied a paycheck that reflects that work. That hurts their families and our economy,” Harkin said. “Plain and simple, if you have to work more, you should be paid more. Our legislation takes a commonsense approach to restoring overtime protections by making clear who should be eligible for overtime, while strengthening compliance provisions. Americans who work hard and play by the rules should be fairly compensated for a hard day’s work.”

Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joined Harkin in introducing the bill.

Key provisions of the Restoring Overtime Pay for Working Americans Act include:

  • Gradually raising the overtime salary threshold for executive, administrative and professional (EAP) workers from $455 a week to $1,090 a week to match the inflation-adjusted level from 1975, the last time the threshold was set at an appropriate level given salary levels at the time. The new threshold would be phased in over several years and indexed to inflation after that. This would ensure that low- and mid-wage workers earning less than this threshold will be automatically eligible for overtime pay.
  • Gradually raising the threshold for “highly-compensated employees” from $100,000 to $125,000, based on inflation since the concept was introduced in regulations in 2004, and indexing it to inflation after that. Employees earning above this threshold are more likely to be exempt from overtime than other white collar workers because they have a less stringent duties test that is used to determine their overtime eligibility.
  • Creating a commonsense definition of the term “primary duty.”  This term is used in regulations to determine if a worker’s duties are eligible to be overtime exempt. Prior to 2004, a primary duty was that which was performed the majority of the time.  Regulations issued in 2004 removed that 50 percent threshold, creating a loophole that allowed a worker to be exempt even if he or she only spends a few hours a week supervising or doing other exempt duties.  This is a common occurrence today for employees like first-line supervisors in stores and restaurants. This bill would restore a 50 percent threshold.
  • Establishing recordkeeping penalties. The bill would establish penalties for violations of the recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The penalties would be the same as for violations of minimum wage or overtime: up to $1,100 if the violation is willful or repeated. This will create a strong incentive for employers to keep required records of hours, wages, bonuses, and commissions.

As Chairman of the HELP Committee, Harkin has been a strong voice for fair pay and worker protections, leading the Senate introduction of legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, which would help millions of working families.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

 characters available

4 Responses to Harkin, other Senators introduce legislation to restore overtime pay for salaried workers

  1. LVS Reply Report comment

    June 23, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Over time some company’s take advantage of the salaried workers and it IS unfair that they do so. There are supposed to be benefits to being on salary that compensate people for overtime not being paid such as better insurance and paid time off for personal reasons. But, in the effort to get more and more profits the companies have violated those time tested benefits. People should be compensated fairly for their efforts and not paying at least straight time for over time just screws them.

    • Left MC Reply Report comment

      June 23, 2014 at 9:35 am

      I assume you also support raising the minimum wage then?

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        June 23, 2014 at 10:58 am

        @Left MC-I think raising the minimum would be O.K. if they were to do a cost of living increase and a reasonable raise. But to issue a blanket raise based on political issues is not the answer. Cost of living goes up for everyone and prices of goods continue to increase. Just look at the tax and service increase in Mason City this year and then add on the school levy. People just do not have the money to pay it.

  2. Marybeth Greenan Reply Report comment

    June 21, 2014 at 11:30 am

    My take on this is that they don’t want to retire the ot pay… they want to RESTORE and PRESERVE ot pay of lower and middle salaried workers….

    This headline is misleading… I may be reading it wrong..

    If I am right– it is a good idea. When I was salaried — at one job I worked 60 to a max of 120 (one week) and no overtime or comp time… The same with my last job. 50-70 hrs a week… same thing. another job- 70 hours a week consistently– nothing.. United way at least gave comp…