Barack Obama took to the op-ed pages of the Huffington Post to propose a new plan that he claims will extend overtime pay to 5 million new Americans, by making workers earning under $50,400 per year eligible for overtime wages.
The White House first expressed its intent to fix overtime pay in March 2014. Currently, only salaried workers making under $23,660 per year — or $455 per week — are eligible to be paid overtime (meaning that they earn one and half times their normal hourly rate when they work over 40 hours in a week). Obama's plan is to increase the threshold under which employees are eligible for overtime compensation, thus making sure that more American workers get paid extra when they work overtime.
Since 2014, several policymakers released suggestions about where the threshold should be set.
The following graphic, released by the Economic Policy Institute last December, breaks down some of the popular proposals:
Although none of the suggestions match Obama's current number exactly, they provide a rough estimate of how many Americans will benefit from the proposed change. In terms of the actual threshold amount, Obama's current plan most closely matches the figure based on inflation-adjustment of the threshold in 1975.
Salaried workers indicate employees who are paid a set salary, rather than a rate based on the amount of work they do. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, America had over 106 million full-time salaried workers in 2014, over 55 percent of whom were male.
Before Obama's proposal becomes law, it will likely have to make its way through a review process and consideration by the Department of Labor. Congressional Republicans have already expressed disapproval of changing overtime regulations.