New rule would make millions more workers eligible for overtime pay

The Biden administration proposed a new rule Wednesday requiring bonus pay for overtime work for millions more American workers.

But the new rule is already facing pushback from business groups.

Frying up burgers qualifies for time-and-a-half pay when a worker goes past 40 hours in a week on the job.

Same for hammering away at-home construction.

But under U.S. labor rules, overtime pay isn’t always available for workers off to the sidelines.

Companies can avoid OT pay if they have workers on salary and performing roles that qualify as executive, administrative or professional — so-called "white collar jobs."

Right now, even those workers still get overtime pay if they earn less than $35,568 a year. That means no OT for a white collar worker making more than $17.10 an hour.

Labor advocates are supporting the new Department of Labor rule that would raise the salary threshold to $55,000, the equivalent of $26.44 per hour.

"This is what’s fair and this is what’s right," said Minnesota AFL-CIO president Bernie Burnham. "So people who work long hours and over 40 hours should be getting paid for those hours."

President Biden pushed a similar rule change in 2016 when he was vice president, but business interests got it thrown out in court.

Labor leaders are expecting another fight.

"I’m sure there will be," Burnham said. "But I think long term hopefully folks will realize again that this is what’s best for everybody and that if we want to raise the standard of living in the United States of America, this is important for folks."

Business interests don’t sound convinced.

"The Administration’s proposed threshold is well above the rate of inflation," said a statement from the National Retail Federation. "We’re not convinced that such an increase is warranted at this time."

And the National Association of Manufacturers communications team said the organization may have to take legal action again.

The Department of Labor will take public input for 60 days and then the rule can take effect unless legal challenges block it.