Obama wants to boost workers eligible for overtime

Obama wants to boost workers eligible for overtime

PAY CHECK: U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks welcoming NCAA champion athletes to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington March 10. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will seek to increase the number of people who earn overtime pay by updating regulations that exempt broad swaths of supervisors, managers and office workers from making overtime, a White House official said on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Obama will ask the Labor Department to look at regulations for overtime, and whether to hike the salary threshold above which employers are not required to pay overtime. The threshold was last raised in 2004 to $455 per week.

It is another in a series of populist measures Obama is promoting ahead of November midterm elections as Democrats try to appeal to voters and keep control of the Senate.

Obama has been campaigning to boost the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from $7.25, a measure that stands little chance of passing Congress. He also has tried to urge Congress to extend unemployment insurance benefits for people out of work for extended periods.

But his administration does not need congressional approval to define who is exempt from overtime pay, the White House said.

“Some employers classify workers as ‘white collar’ workers even though the overwhelming majority of their duties are not white collar,” a White House official said on condition of anonymity, using the example of a convenience store manager or shift supervisor at a fast food restaurant.

“It’s even possible that some of these workers make less than the minimum wage per hour,” the official said. A salaried worker earning $455 per week who works 63 hours or more earns less than the minimum wage.

California has a higher threshold of $640 per week and is set to boost that to $800 per week in 2016, while New York set its threshold at $600 per week, increasing to $675 per week in 2016, the White House official noted.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Recent Headlines

in Music

Foo Fighters lay down new track during Austin City Limits


During the band's set at Austin City Limits, lead singer Dave Grohl told the crowd they recorded the new tunes in the beautiful city.

in Music

All-night booze and blacked out windows: The Rolling Stones know how to party


The "Satisfaction" hitmakers still know how to tour in style.

in Music

Bobby Brown working on ‘unvarnished’ memoir


Get ready for a "raw and unvarnished" memoir by Bobby Brown.

in Entertainment

Another George R.R. Martin TV adaptation is in the works


"Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin is throwing his support behind a planned TV adaptation of his 1988 novel "The Skin Trade."

in Music

Phil Collins is writing his life story


The "In The Air Tonight" singer will go on the record about his life in music, "warts and all."