Labor unions fought for decades for the 40 hour work week. As workers and union members, our labor, our time, and our ingenuity are our most valuable assets. When we give time and energy to our employer, that should be spent with our families and loved ones, we should be compensated for that time. Workers earn overtime pay, ‘time and a half’, when they contribute more than 40 hours to their employer. Salaried workers, who are not paid by the hour, are largely exempted from overtime regulation, meaning that any hours they work beyond 40 are not compensated.
When President Trump rejected the Department of Labor’s new overtime protections American workers lost over $1 billion in their yearly salary. Elected officials at the state and local level must take on the responsibility when workers are abandoned at the Federal Level.
Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf has taken action on behalf of workers across the Commonwealth to expand overtime eligibility to salaried workers. Under the Executive, Administrative, and Professional (EAP) salaried worker exemptions, a salaried worker can work 10 hour days, 6 days a week making poverty-level wages, but not be eligible for overtime compensation for the additional 20 hours.
The Governor’s proposal raises the threshold to $48,000; now any salaried employee who makes less than 48,000 a year can receive overtime pay. The current federal level for workers included in the Fair Labor Standards Act is $23,660, however, the state level can be as low as $8,600. There are 465,000 workers in Pennsylvania who will now receive compensation for their work. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is heartened by the Governor’s action. These changes are a step toward raising wages, creating jobs, and investing in our local communities.