WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the Trump Administration facing a key deadline on the overtime rule this Friday, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced legislative measures this week to restore the value of work for Ohioans. Brown put forth measures in support of overtime pay for workers and to provide workers in key service sectors with advanced notice of their schedules. In March, Brown outlined his plan to make hard work pay off again and has been introducing legislation to implement his plan.
In May 2016, the Obama Administration unveiled a new overtime policy to extend eligibility for overtime pay to workers earning less than $47,476 annually. Last November, a ruling by a federal judge in Texas blocked the Department of Labor (DOL) overtime rules from going into effect. This Friday is the deadline for the Trump Administration to appeal the federal court’s decision on DOL’s overtime rule, which would extend overtime pay to more than 130,000 Ohio workers who are working long hours without fair pay.
Brown’s efforts to restore the value of work this week include:
- A resolution urging the Trump Administration to defend the overtime rule. The rule would make workers earning less than $47,476 annually eligible for overtime pay. It would extend overtime pay to more than 130,000 Ohio workers who are working long hours without fair pay.
- The Schedules that Work Act, which would provide employees advanced notice of their work schedules and include important protections for workers who schedules change without warning.
“Hard work doesn’t pay off like it used to. Too many Ohio workers aren’t sharing in the economic growth they created,” said Brown. “Wages have been stagnant and benefits have declined, while people are working longer hours. Ohio workers deserve to earn extra pay if they work extra hours and to have a predictable work schedule. President Trump must follow through on his promise to stand up for Ohio workers by defending the overtime rule and implementing policies that put workers first.”
Brown’s resolution in support of the DOL overtime rule underscores the importance of extending overtime to workers and urges the Administration to fully defend and implement the overtime rule as finalized. By introducing this resolution, Brown is urging the Department of Labor to support a rule that will provide economic stability to millions of working families.
This week, the Department of Labor sent a request for information (RFI) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), signaling that the Department intends to consider changes to the rule including potentially lowering the salary threshold.
Prior to the rule’s announcement in May 2016, the threshold for overtime pay was out-of-date and failed to support workers. Only people who have earned $455 or less per week or $23,660 annually – roughly eight percent of salaried workers – qualify for overtime pay when working over 40 hours. Under the new rule, workers earning below $47,476 annually would be eligible for overtime pay. Additionally, the salary threshold will be automatically revised every three years to ensure that workers receive the fair pay they have earned.
In 2016, Brown joined Vice President Joe Biden and then-Labor Secretary Tom Perez to unveil the overtime policy. The rule followed extensive action by Brown to ensure that workers are paid what they deserve. In November 2016, Brown blasted the ruling by a federal judge in Texas that blocked the Department of Labor overtime rules for workers.
Brown’s bill, the Schedules that Work Act, gives workers the right to request schedule changes from employers. The legislation would require employers to consider employee’s schedule requests, especially for requests related to healthcare, child or senior care, or continuing education, unless there is a legitimate business reason to deny it.
The bill would also require employers in certain sectors, including food service, cleaning, and retail occupations, to provide employee schedules two weeks in advance and provide additional pay if workers are put “on-call” or if they are sent home early.
Both of these provisions apply to companies with 15 or more workers.
Brown’s plan to restore the value of work will make hard work pay off once again by doing four things:
- Raising workers’ wages and benefits
- Giving workers more power in the workplace
- Making it possible for more workers to save for retirement
- Encouraging more companies to invest in their workforces
Earlier this year, Brown announced the Healthy Families Act, which would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days a year to care for a family member and to address personal medical needs. Brown also introduced the FAMILY Act, which would create an insurance plan that provides workers up to 12 weeks of time off from work to tend to family and medical crises.