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New federal regulation will allow more overtime claims

Most Michigan hourly employees who work more than 40 hours during a work week expect to be paid overtime for those additional hours. However, workers who meet certain criteria are exempt from receiving overtime pay. According to regulations promulgated under the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers who earn more than $23,660 annually are currently exempt from making overtime claims.

The Obama administration has proposed a change to existing regulations that would make many more workers eligible to claim overtime pay. The proposal would amend the overtime regulations by raising the annual earnings limit on overtime pay to $50,440. According to the Obama administration, many workers toil long hours and are not compensated fairly for those hours. President Obama recently stated that the lack of overtime pay is not a new situation and that a review was necessary because overtime regulations have not been revised for years.

The revision would provide increased earnings for as many as 5 million employees across the country. In Michigan as many as 100,000 workers could have a chance to claim additional pay for overtime hours, according to a report published by the White House.

The proposal has to undergo a waiting period so the public has a chance to express opinions about the change. The revised rules do not alter the current rules exempting specific executive and management positions from overtime requirements.

For workers who meet the FLSA criteria, overtime pay is a legal right, not a matter for the employers' discretion. Workers who believe they are being unjustly denied overtime pay may wish to consult an experienced employment law attorney.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Obama unveils overtime rule for salaried workers," Todd Spangler and Lauren Pankin, June 30, 2015

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