Majority of Workers Who Will Benefit From Updated Overtime Rules Are Women

A lot has changed since 1975. The Soviet Union collapsed, we fought (and are fighting still) several wars in the Middle East, same-sex marriage is now legal across the United States, we have our first African-American president, we have the Internet. But what has changed only minimally is the salary level for determining which "salaried" workers are entitled to overtime. Seriously. While the Bush Administration made a minuscule adjustment in 2004, essentially a political smokescreen to avoid a real increase, that number is finally going to increase in a meaningful way -- the Economic Policy Institute deserves a lot of credit for pushing for this long-overdue update. The Department of Labor is announcing a significant increase in the threshold -- from $23,660 to approximately double that amount. What that means is that workers earning up to the new level, even if they are not called "hourly," will get overtime pay for their hours worked over 40 in a work week. In 1975, the salary basis test captured 60 percent of salaried workers; in 2015, only 8 percent of salaried workers fall below this level and earn overtime. While writing my book, Under The Bus: How Working Women Are Being Run Over , I discovered (with help from EPI's economists) just how much this change will help workers, particularly women of color.