There are millions of Americans sacrificing precious family time for a job that’s not paying them enough to make ends meet. Part of this is due to the fact that overtime regulations haven’t been meaningfully updated in decades. In 1975, 62 percent of full-time salaried workers were eligible for overtime pay; but today, only 8 percent of full-time salaried workers fall below the salary threshold and are automatically eligible for overtime pay.
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That’s why President Obama recently announced the release of a new proposed rule that, once final, would extend overtime protections to roughly 5 million workers. Last week, Secretary Tom Perez called three of these workers who would benefit from this proposal, and who submitted their stories online about how getting paid overtime would benefit them.
Mark from Indianapolis, Indiana
Originally from Boise, Idaho, Mark has worked as the manager for a non-profit since June 2011. Working long hours and traveling quite often on the road, Mark felt like he was working harder and harder but didn’t feel like he was being fairly compensated. After being diagnosed with cancer, the long hours took an even greater toll on him physically, mentally and financially.
“I have a great opportunity to work with college students across the United States. I’ve also always been a high achiever and seek to do my best in all that I pursue. I’ve received four promotions within my current job since I began working here and I know my employers are appreciative of the work that I do. This being said, as each semester gears up, so does my workload. Often times, I will work between 60-80 hours per week for the first month or so of each academic term.
Dedication toward my employer’s mission is paramount to our success but overtime would allow me the money to visit my family more often. I moved out to Indiana from Idaho, and now only see my parents and younger sister a few times a year due to expensive flights.
Additionally, this past year I was diagnosed with cancer. This shock not only took its toll on me mentally, but financially. I chose to continue working but overtime would allow me to pay my medical bills more easily and get my life back on track after completing my treatment.
Thank you for the opportunity to share a bit of my story and I look forward to hearing those of my peers across the nation.”
Cathie from North Canton, Ohio
Cathie has a business degree and has been working in human resources for over 20 years. As a human resources benefits administrator for a manufacturing company, she currently works 45-50 hours in the office, but is also on call most of the night. As a working mother of three, Cathie hopes the proposed overtime rule will give her either a higher wage or the gift of more time to spend with her children.
“Paying me overtime for all the hours of emails, texts, calls, and work I have to do at home, because my company gives me a laptop and a phone, would at least make me feel like I am not making below minimum wage. I don’t mind the work I just want to be fairly compensated for it! I would like to be able to afford things for my children; as a single mom it is hard to make ends meet, and I can’t get a second job since my first job is around the clock because I am told I am exempt.”
Josh from Savannah, Georgia
Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Josh moved to Savannah to work in the health and fitness industry. For the last two and a half years, Josh has been working on average 50 hours a week, but during the opening of a new facility, worked closer to 100 hours. “I worked on everything; I ordered everything from the drywall to the pens on the desk.” Josh feels that he is not always fairly compensated for his long hours.
“When I first learned about the proposed rule, I found myself immediately intrigued by what this would mean for my future. Working as a manager of a health facility often results long hours. Unfortunately, as a salaried employee, those long hours and hard work do not translate into additional income. The ability to make more money would mean I could finally pay off health care debt that I had before Obamacare (when I was uninsured). Moreover, I would be able to finally pay off some school debt after attending the University of Tennessee. I work very hard and produce great results for my company. I think it is about time that the extra time I am working (and required to work) gets rewarded. I very much look forward to the passing of this rule and the subsequent implementation of the law.”
Now we want to hear from you: How would getting paid overtime benefit you? Share your story here.