Contacts: John Patrick, Rick Levy or Ed Sills, (512)477-6195
A lawsuit filed by Texas and other states attacking pending changes in overtime rules that would benefit 4 million Americans – including some 400,000 Texans – is based on ideology and “zero concern for working people who are forced to put in free hours at the whim of their employers,” Texas AFL-CIO President John Patrick said.
“Our nation’s overtime law was designed to promote a society in which people work to live rather than live to work,” Patrick said. “The decision by Texas to file a lawsuit against the overtime rule is a backward-gazing insult that tells hundreds of thousands of Texans that neither their extra work nor their family time is valued.”
The Labor Department’s rule, set to take effect Dec. 1, rectifies a situation in which salaried workers earning as little as $23,660 a year may be required to work 60 hours, 80 hours or even 100 hours in a week while being paid only their base salary.
The Fair Labor Standards Act guarantees time-and-a-half pay for hourly wage-earners for hours they work beyond 40 in a week. But a broad category of managers and professionals who earn salaries are not eligible for overtime pay unless they make under the $23,660 threshold, or $455 a week. The new rule would expand overtime coverage to include workers making up to $913 a week.
The overtime threshold has been eaten away by inflation, resulting in a situation where hard-working managers and professionals may in effect earn hourly pay below the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
“The new overtime rule does not necessarily require employers to pay workers more, but it does require them to meet a higher threshold before they can demand all but unlimited work hours,” Patrick said. “The rule will allow more Texans to spend more time with their families, or, if they are needed at work, to receive premium pay for their long hours.”
“Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton diminished his office by suggesting the Fair Labor Standards Act, part of the fabric of American workplaces for nearly 80 years, is part of a ‘radical leftist political agenda,’” Patrick said. “In the event the state’s lawsuit succeeds, hundreds of thousands of Texas workers who might work 70-hour weeks with no overtime will have Ken Paxton to thank.”
“Overtime pay is about basic workplace fairness, not Ken Paxton’s political agenda. Ken Paxton has zero concern for working people who are forced to put in free hours at the whim of their employers.”