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Potential changes to federal overtime laws

Californians are more fortunate than many Americans when it comes to overtime pay. California is one of several states that put in place better overtime pay laws than the federal government. According to CNN Business, state law requires employers to pay 1.5 times the regular hourly wages for working more than eight hours in a day. When workers’ shifts pass 12 hours per day, employers pay double-time wages.

When state and federal laws differ on worker pay, the one that provides higher pay for workers prevails. Because of this, most Californians remain unconcerned about the proposals now making its way through America’s legislative system. Even so, it may affect people who work out of state and their families.

The Obama Administration proposed almost doubling the weekly wage threshold that determined overtime pay for workers. If it unfolded as planned, the law would have taken effect on December 1, 2016. However, 21 states and a number of business groups sued. This led to a preliminary injunction, drawing the plans to a halt. CNN expected the Trump administration to make a decision by June 30.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the decision is still weighing in the balance. It reports that in 2017, the DOL requested more information to better define exemptions created for computer, professional, administrative, executive and outside sales employees. In March 2019, the DOL then proposed an amendment that would make a million more people eligible for overtime.

While impressive, the number is a fraction of the millions of Americans who would have become eligible for overtime pay under the Obama administration’s initial proposal. At the time of writing this article, the DOL’s overtime pay page offered no updates regarding the Trump administration’s decision or the June 30 deadline.

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