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Action for Our Workers: President Obama Signs Memorandum to Update Overtime Pay

Summary: 
President Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum directing Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to update and modernize America’s overtime regulations.
President Barack Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum on updating the overtime pay system, in the East Room of the White House, March 13, 2014.

President Barack Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum on updating the overtime pay system, in the East Room of the White House, March 13, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

This afternoon, in the East Room of the White House, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to update and modernize America’s overtime pay system, so that millions of our nation's salaried workers will have the protections of overtime pay.

At the signing, the President explained the necessity of fixing our overtime pay regulations:

[T]oday, millions of Americans aren’t getting the extra pay they deserve. That’s because an exception that was originally meant for high-paid, white-collar employees now covers workers earning as little as $23,660 a year. So if you’re making $23,000, typically, you’re not high in management. If your salary is even a dollar above the current threshold, you may not be guaranteed overtime. It doesn't matter if what you do is mostly physical work like stocking shelves, it doesn't matter if you’re working 50 or 60 or 70 hours a week -- your employer doesn't have to pay you a single extra dime.     

And I think that’s wrong. It doesn’t make sense that in some cases this rule actually makes it possible for salaried workers to be paid less than the minimum wage. It’s not right when business owners who treat their employees fairly can be undercut by competitors who aren’t treating their employees right. If you’re working hard, you’re barely making ends meet, you should be paid overtime. Period. Because working Americans have struggled through stagnant wages for too long.

President Obama was also joined on stage at today's event by more than a dozen middle-class workers and small business owners from across the country who understand the importance of overtime pay and fair wages for all workers.

Get the facts on why we need to reward hard work by strengthening our overtime protections.


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