California employees have many rights that they can take advantage of in order to be treated fairly and respectfully in the workplace. Some of these employee rights come from California law, and some of them come from Federal law. This is usually good news for workers, because there are often two bodies of government setting regulations in place for the benefit of the employees. New proposals by the Obama administration might allow salaried workers even more rights under federal law.
The proposal aims to tackle an issue that has been affecting middle class workers more and more in recent years: lack of sufficient compensation for working overtime. Currently, federal regulations provide that employees whose annual salaries are $23,660 or less be guaranteed overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a single week. Obviously, less than $24,000 is a difficult wage to live on, especially in many cities in California, and yet many of the white collar employees who make just above that number are being forced to work longer hours for no additional pay.
The Obama administration’s new rules would provide overtime pay for higher-earning employees, raising the threshold to an annual salary of $50,440. The idea behind this is that middle management employees who perform many of the same job functions and responsibilities as lower salaried employees would be entitled to the same benefits of working overtime as those lower salaried employees.
It is worth mentioning that California has its own laws in place regarding overtime pay, guaranteeing such benefits to workers whose annual salaries do not surpass $37,400, however, this is still lower than the proposed salary of the Obama administration’s policy. There are many questions about how California will react to the proposal, with some believing that state legislation will match or even raise the threshold for state overtime benefits. Regardless of what ends up happening, you can be sure that we will be prepared to defend California employees and ensure that they are able to take advantage of their rights.
Source: LA Times, “Obama aims to expand overtime pay to more salaried workers,” Chris Kirkham, June 30, 2015