Many Michigan workers aren’t paid time and a half for their time worked beyond 40 hours a week on the job but that could change for some of them under reforms being considered by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. A new rule making process could raise the income threshold under which employees are exempt from overtime protections.
“This is a good sign, “ said LaCresha Osterman, a McDonald’s restaurant employee and member of Detroit’s Fight For $15 movement. “Not only would a threshold increase put more money in the pockets of lower wage workers, it would encourage employers to hire more people rather than continue to exploit the ones they already have.”
In 2014, the Obama administration had proposed changes at the federal level which would have made overtime available to people making up to $51,000 annually. But under Trump, the threshold was set at less than $36,000 a year, leaving out more than 200,000 Michigan workers. Gov. Whitmer has directed the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity set a new state level after considering feedback from businesses and key stakeholders. Once Whitmer’s request is submitted, a new overtime rule could take effect in 6 to 12 months.
Michigan has become the latest state to pursue the expansion of overtime pay. California, New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maine have all taken steps to raise their thresholds as high as $64,000 by 2022.