New bill could raise employment compensation for 4.2M in U.S

Recently, the Obama administration passed a significant wage law that could benefit up to 4.2 million Americans, including approximately 146,000 workers in California. Supporters hail this as a victory for the average middle class worker. However, those opposed to the legislation believe that employers will start adjusting their employment compensation levels or taking other steps in order to avoid having to pay the new overtime premiums. Should this happen, the law could ultimately hurt the very people it was intended to help.

Under the new bill, the threshold under which workers will qualify to receive overtime will increase significantly. The current threshold of $23,660 per year has not changed for more than a decade, even though the cost of living has continued to increase throughout the country. The new threshold will rise to $47,476, and there are provisions that will allow for further increases every three years.

In order to qualify for overtime pay, workers will have to work at least 40 hours per week. In addition, there are employees who will not qualify to receive overtime pay, such as those who are classified as administrative, professional or executive workers. The state of California already has progressive overtime compensation laws in place, which allows workers to receive overtime compensation if they earn under $41,500 per year. In addition, the state allows workers to claim overtime if they work more than eight hours in any given day, as opposed to the national law, where a worker must exceed 40 hours per week before receiving overtime pay.

Though the article does not specify when this new piece of legislation will take effect, there is certain to be a transitional period that may result in wage disputes. California employees who see abrupt changes in their employment status or feel that the new law is not being applied appropriately in their workplace, may benefit from seeking the advice of a California attorney who is experienced in employment litigation. This type of attorney will be able to evaluate a person's specific job and work history, and an attorney will be able to discuss the legal steps available if it is determined that the worker's employment compensation is not in line with mandated levels.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, "Obama administration announces final overtime rule, boosting pay for millions", Michael A. Memoli, May 17, 2016

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