More US workers will become eligible for overtime pay

President Barack Obama has directed the Department of Labor to update and modernize overtime pay rules Wednesday to make it clearer to workers and business of which U.S. workers qualify for overtime pay.

The new rule would double the salary threshold and automatically update every three years.

In an email to petitioners, Obama said, “We’re strengthening our overtime pay rules to make sure millions of Americans’ hard work is rewarded. If you work more than 40 hours a week, you should get paid for it or get extra time off to spend with your family and loved ones. It’s one of most important steps we’re taking to help grow middle-class wages and put $12 billion more dollars in the pockets of hardworking Americans over the next 10 years.”

Obama said that the fundamental principle of overtime pay goes back to the Depression-era Fair Labor Standards Act and that the U.S. has not kept up with the times.

The current threshold where employers can deny overtime pay is $23,660. Under the new rule, it would increase to $47,476.

About fixing the problem, Obama said, “Americans have spent too long working long hours and getting less in return. So wherever and whenever I can make sure that our economy rewards hard work and responsibility, that’s what I’m going to do. Every hardworking American deserves a paycheck that lets them support their families, gain a little economic security, and pass down some opportunity to their kids. That’s always worth fighting for.”

The rule will take effect Dec. 1.