For months we’ve heard that the economy is finally moving in the right direction, except for one hitch: working people’s wages, particularly those of women, are not going up. One big reason: for years, millions of workers have clocked in more and more hours without ever seeing an extra cent in their paycheck. That’s wrong. Too many workers, most of whom are women, are watching their finances be stretched to the limit because even though they work overtime, they are not compensated for the work they do.
Working women deserve better. The Department of Labor and President Obama have taken the first step towards ensuring millions more women receive the overtime pay they have earned. By increasing the salary threshold to $50,444 – meaning if you make less than that, you’re guaranteed protection – 3.2 million more women will be automatically eligible for overtime. This is a major win for working women.
Too many women currently struggle to balance work and family life while working long hours, often receiving no financial compensation. The proposed increase in the overtime salary threshold will help ease that struggle with employers now having to either respect the 40-hour work week, giving working women more time to spend with their families, or compensate workers for their extra time on the job. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, this will be particularly beneficial for single mothers, as 28% of those women who currently work overtime will gain overtime protections under the new proposal. African-American and Latina women stand to gain the most under the updated protections with nearly half of the women who are currently exempt from overtime receiving coverage under the new law.
With nearly 40% of women serving as the primary breadwinners in their home, no woman who works full time should struggle to provide for herself or her family. Sadly, for too many women that is often the reality. The updated overtime rule proposed by the Department of Labor will provide millions of women and their families with the economic security they’ve worked hard to achieve. Raising wages for both men and women through increasing overtime pay will strengthen the economy overall and ensure that all working people are able to live in dignity.
Community Commons visual data like the maps and tables below are an excellent way to demonstrate to policymakers where interventions can have an impact. Create a Community Health Needs Assessment Full Indicator report by simply entering your state and county (or several counties) and the data automatically populates for you.
Liz Shuler is the secretary-treasurer/chief financial officer of the AFL-CIO.