During his presidency, Barack Obama has advocated for a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. I suppose the extra ten cents is so it has a nice ring to it.I (Matt Palumbo) opposed it when he actively pushed for it — but never did I think a movement like Fight for Fifteen could make him look reasonable by comparison. Still, as Obama concludes his presidency, he’s tackling a number of hot-button issues — wages being one of them.
With a Republican-controlled House and Senate, pushing through a minimum wage hike is next to impossible. As a result, Obama’s getting creative.The New York Times reports:
The Obama administration, in a far-reaching effort to improve the lot of workers that has ignited criticism from business groups, announced on Tuesday that it was making millions more employees eligible for overtime pay.
Under the new regulation to be issued by the Labor Department on Wednesday, most salaried workers earning up to $47,476 a year must receive time-and-a-half overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours during a week. The previous cutoff for overtime pay, set in 2004, was $23,660.
It doesn’t matter how you justify increasing the cost of labor for employers, whether it be through minimum wage or through this method, the effects are the same.
The change is expected to play out in a variety of ways. Once the rule goes into effect on Dec. 1, many workers will receive more pay when they work overtime, but others may end up working fewer hours if employers move to limit their time at work. In other cases, employers may decide to increase the salaries of some workers to push them over the cutoff so that the employers will not have to pay overtime or hire additional workers after limiting hours for existing employees.
It’s not a minimum wage increase per se, but it is a rose by another name, and in this case, unfortunately it’ll smell just as sour.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]