Gov. Whitmer takes action to raise overtime pay threshold for Michigan workers

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer directed the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to submit a request for rulemaking to expand the right to overtime pay to more Michigan workers.

Changes in federal law are set to extend overtime pay rights to workers making up to $35,500, but even then, less than one in six Michiganders will benefit, down from a peak of more than 60 percent of workers.

“In America, hard work should be recognized and rewarded. When I was growing up, that meant you got overtime if you worked more than 40 hours,” said Whitmer. “President Obama took the first step towards restoring this right for millions of Americans five years ago, and if his proposed rule had taken effect, workers earning up to $51,000 today would be eligible for overtime pay. Instead, President Trump took a big step backwards when he implemented a rule that leaves 200,000 Michigan workers behind. That’s why today I’m directing the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to take action that will extend the right to overtime pay for thousands of Michigan workers. Strengthening paychecks is good for families, good for business, and good for our economy. It’s time to get it done.”

According to the United Way’s ALICE report on financially struggling households, families need an annual salary of $61,000 just to afford the basics and support a family of four.

Families that live below the ALICE threshold struggle to pay for health care, childcare, car insurance, and healthy food for their children. — G.G.