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Here’s what Michiganders need to know about the new overtime rules

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The White House says more than 100,000 Michiganders could see bigger paychecks, under new overtime rules.

The Department of Labor is essentially doubling the salary threshold for workers who are guaranteed overtime pay.

Starting in December, salaried workers making less than $47,476 will qualify for overtime, if they work more than 40 hours a week.

But some employers just won't be able to absorb those costs, says Wendy Block, with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

She says some salaried employees could see their pay cut to make up for the extra overtime pay, or be changed to hourly workers, "thereby depriving those workers of the workplace flexibility and other benefits they highly value."

“The Obama administration really does paint a rosy picture of how this change will benefit workers,” Block says. “But unfortunately, it could have the impact of limiting job opportunities, to see a cut in their pay … or to lose their status as salaried workers. In our minds, it’s unfortunate that the president and the Department of Labor decided to unilaterally impose a government mandate of this size and type.”  

But the Michigan League for Public Policy says this change is long overdue.

“For 2014, we calculated that a single parent in Michigan with two kids needs to earn a salary of $44,164 to make ends meet and cover their food, housing, healthcare, child care, transportation and other costs,” says MLPP President Gilda Jacobs in a statement Wednesday. “In Michigan, households with two working parents and two small children have to collectively earn over $52,000 annually. The more than 100,000 Michigan workers who would be affected by this overtime change are the people who are working but still barely getting by. I am glad to see President Obama take this action.”

Some professions, like teachers, doctors and lawyers, are exempt from the new rules.

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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