Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday she has taken action to expand the right to overtime pay to more Michigan workers.
Current federal laws extend rights to overtime pay to workers making less than $35,568. The Trump administration drew criticism after putting the law into place in September. The recent law set the threshold around $12,000 less than a proposed Obama administration law that was originally struck down in court.
Less than one in six Michigan residents can draw overtime pay under the current law, Whitmer said.
“In America, hard work should be recognized and rewarded. When I was growing up, that meant you got overtime if you worked more than 40 hours,” Whitmer said. “President Obama took the first step towards restoring this right for millions of Americans five years ago, and if his proposed rule had taken effect, workers earning up to $51,000 today would be eligible for overtime pay.”
Whitmer directed the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to submit a request to expand the right to overtime pay for Michigan residents. The process to finalize the rule change could take up to a year.
Households making less than $61,000 may struggle to afford basics to support a family of four, according to United Way’s ALICE report.
“Governor Whitmer’s directive to increase overtime pay protections is good for workers and good for Michigan’s economy,” said Jeff Donofrio, the director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity in a statement. “This directive begins the rulemaking process, which will include feedback from businesses and key stakeholders, and we look forward to their participation as we move forward.”
Michigan would join several states who are also in the process of or have proposed raising the threshold for overtime pay, including California, New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maine.
“President Trump took a big step backwards when he implemented a rule that leaves 200,000 Michigan workers behind,” Whitmer said. “Strengthening paychecks is good for families, good for business, and good for our economy. It’s time to get it done.”
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]