More workers will be eligible for overtime — but not as many as under a previous proposal
On January 1, 2020, more workers across the United States will be eligible for overtime. Approximately 1.3 million men and women will be eligible for time-and-a-half pay under a new rule that was recently finalized. Yet according to some critics, eligibility for overtime should have been increased even further.
Under current federal law, most workers who make $23,660 are entitled to overtime pay. This means that to be considered salaried under federal wage and hour laws, you need to make at least $23,660 per year. As of January 1, 2020, you will need to make at least $35,568 to be considered salaried. Anyone who makes less than that will be eligible for overtime.
Yet according to a California employment lawyer, a proposal by former President Barack Obama would have raised the salary threshold to $47,000. This would have led to approximately 3 million more workers being entitled to either a shorter work week or more pay for their work. This rule was struck down by a judge in Texas. After President Trump took office, it issued its own rule, setting the threshold at $35,568. The last time the threshold was updated was 2004.
Why is this threshold important? Many workers are paid a relatively low annual salary and are ineligible for overtime pay as a result. For example, an employee could be paid $40,000 per year as a salaried employee. If that same employee is required to work 50 or 60 hour weeks on a regular basis, he or she may actually make more money if they were paid on an hourly basis. As a California employment lawyer can explain, having a higher threshold for overtime pay means that more employees will have the benefit of overtime pay — and will not be put in the position of having to work long work weeks for a relatively low salary.
In California, there is a different standard for individuals to be exempt from the minimum wage. It is tied to California’s minimum wage. For example, the salary threshold for executive, administrative and professional employees is double the state minimum wage. Currently, the threshold is $49,920 for businesses with at least 26 employees, and $45,760 for companies with 25 or fewer employees. On January 1, 2020, when the minimum wage increases, the threshold will increase to $54,080 and $49,920, respectively.
If you are eligible for overtime pay and your employer fails to pay you time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 40 in a given week, then you may be able to file a claim against it. In California, you can file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, or you can file a lawsuit against your employer. Your lawsuit can also allege a violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
At PLBSH, we are dedicated to helping employees who have been treated unfairly by their employers — whether that involves not being paid overtime, being discriminated against, or another injustice. Contact our firm today at (800) 435-7542 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation with a California employment lawyer.