For Immediate Release
October 24, 2019
Michigan League for Public Policy applauds expansion of state overtime pay rules
Gov. Whitmer, Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to extend protections to 200,000 workers left behind by President Trump
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement today that the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) will be changing the state’s overtime pay eligibility rules. The statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.
“For too many workers in too many fields, working more than 40 hours a week has become the expectation, not the exception, and with no additional pay. This rule change will improve worker pay and enable more people to better support their families. People work to make a living, but many people with full-time jobs are still struggling to get by—and expecting many of them to work more hours for the same money adds insult to injury. We championed President Obama’s expansion and roundly panned Trump’s spin-as-a-win reduction, and appreciate Gov. Whitmer and LEO bridging the two. Restoring overtime pay is a crucial change to stand up for Michigan workers and their families, and we applaud this action today.”
In 2014, the Obama administration sought to increase the federal overtime threshold—the amount salaried workers must earn to be exempt from overtime pay—to $47,476. Rather than supporting the original proposal, the Trump administration abandoned that major expansion and introduced their own watered-down substitute of just $35,568, which left nearly 200,000 Michiganders without access to overtime pay. Gov. Whitmer has directed LEO to make an historic increase in Michigan’s overtime rule from $23,660 to between $51,064 and $61,272, closely mirroring the original Obama rule and guaranteeing overtime pay protections for those nearly 200,000 Michiganders left behind by President Donald Trump.
The Michigan League for Public Policy works to ensure economic security and well-being for all Michigan residents, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s important change to state overtime rules will do just that. The League has been advocating for this change for some time, supporting President Barack Obama’s efforts to expand it, including the issue in the League’s Owner’s Manual for Michigan policy agenda, and criticizing President Trump’s move to override and undercut the Obama rule.
The problem with the nation’s current overtime protections is that the salary threshold below which workers are guaranteed time-and-a-half overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week has not been properly updated in decades. As a result, nationally the share of white-collar salaried workers guaranteed overtime pay has plummeted from 6 in 10 in 1975 to less than 1 in 10 today.
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.