Lawmakers push for OT pay protections; some say it could harm OH

Ohio Statehouse News
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Democrat state representatives Brigid Kelly and Kent Smith want the state to adopt a measure that would force employers to pay some employees that make up to $47,476 overtime.

Currently, some people who make more than $23,660 (or $11.375 per hour) are not guaranteed to be paid for your overtime.

That’s based on a decision at the federal level; and it should be noted that $23,660 is below the poverty line for a family of four.

Yes, a sole bread-winner bringing home less than $12 dollars per hour would be below the poverty line if they were raising three children alone; or had two children and a spouse who could not work or earned less than $5,000 per year.

So let’s use the example of a single mother trying to raise kids on a salary of $24,960 ($12 per hour).

She is a manager at a retail store that has to work 55 hours per week because of her managerial duties and as a result receives no overtime compensation because she makes too much money by just over $1,000 a year.

If the state were to adopt the changes the U.S. Department of Labor was ready to honor, and increase the overtime protection to $47,476, she would bring home an extra $14,040 in taxable income she earned over the course of a year; which is an additional $270 gross per week.

Hannah Halbert, a researcher at Policy Matters Ohio says this is an example of why the current system needs to be updated; and she says it was going to be until the Trump administration shut it down.

In 2016 the Department of Labor came to the conclusion that the protection level should be raised to $47,476 which is the average of what 40% of people living in the south, the lowest income area of the country, make according to Halbert.

This would not have brought the overtime protection level up to what it would have been if the government had kept it in line with inflation; that would have put it into the $50,000+ range; but it was a start.

In 2017, however, Halbert says the Trump administration took steps to block the increase in protection level from going into effect. Halbert says, 12.5 million workers missed out on overtime pay as a result.

In Ohio, 351,000 workers ended up not getting the protection. 
Representatives Kelly and Kent want the state to step up and protect workers overtime at the rate the Department of Labor was ready to.

“This is huge to the families that are working 40-50-60 hours a week and still living in poverty,” said Halbert. “This will have a ripple effect across Ohio’s entire economy.”

However, what those ripples will do besides helping the roughly 3.5% of Ohio workers remains a mystery.

The Buckeye Institute thinks they could potentially have a negative effect on Ohio.

“It’s well intentioned,” said Greg Lawson of the Buckeye Institute. “Everybody wants people to get paid fairly; there is no doubt about that. The problem becomes; you cannot just make it happen.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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