Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate
by Betsy Earls
The Obama administration, through the U.S. Department of Labor, is on the verge of nearly doubling the salary threshold below which employers would be required to pay overtime. And it doesn’t need Congress’s permission to do so. The proposed changes to U.S. overtime pay are the most dramatic in years, and would have a disproportionately negative impact on Oregon businesses and communities.
Under current law, salaried workers earning less than $23,660 per year must receive overtime. The proposed rule raises that threshold to $52,000, greatly expanding the pool of Americans who qualify for overtime pay.
But the proposed rules ignore important regional differences across the country – especially in Oregon.
Oregon’s cost of living is less than the national average, and because of that, it’s not surprising that Oregon’s median wage is also less – according to 2013 Census data, it was $50,230 in 2013, which is about 5% less than the national average. This fact alone means that the proposed overtime rule would cover almost half of Oregon wage earners – far beyond the 40% expected to be impacted nationally. That means Oregon would face a disproportionate number of newly eligible employees as compared to other states, and Oregon employers would face a greater burden than those in other regions.
The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking comments on these proposed rules, which may be accessed here. Comments are due by September 4. AOI will submit comments, but this is your chance to be heard as well. If the rules would have a negative impact on your business, please consider sending your concerns to the U.S. Department of Labor.
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