The Obama administration proposed a new overtime rule on Tuesday that could impact as many as 5 million workers.
Various salaried workers -- including executive, administrative and professional workers, such as retail supervisors and food service managers -- are currently exempt from collecting overtime pay if they make more than $455 per week, or an annual salary of $23,660. As part of the administration's proposed changes, that overtime salary threshold would go up to $50,440.
President Barack Obama discussed the overtime issue in a Monday op-ed in the Huffington Post.
"Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve," the president wrote. "That's partly because we've failed to update overtime regulations for years."
Obama said the proposed rule change is "good for workers who want fair pay, and it's good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve -- since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren't."
Overtime is time-and-a-half pay for hours worked beyond 40 hours per week.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, workers who would benefit the most from an updated overtime threshold include those in lower-paid, white-collar jobs who tend to have fewer benefits, including customer service representatives, social workers, retail worker supervisors, food service managers and others.
Some critics of lifting the salary level that triggers overtime pay argue it could reduce work flexibility among salaried employees. Skeptics also claim that employers might cut their workers' regular wages to offset overtime pay.
"This proposal isn't a law but it certainly reflects one - the law of unintended consequences at a time when the economy and those struggling the most can least afford it," said David French, the National Retail Federation's senior vice president. "Our research shows that the managers who would supposedly benefit oppose this plan and that few workers would actually see more take-home pay. There simply isn't any magic pot of money that lets employers pay more just because the government says so."
The public will have 60 days to comment on the administration's overtime proposal.