New overtime rules are a step toward economic fairness for millions of Americans

On Wednesday, the Department of Labor (DoL) announced a new rule extending overtime pay protections to millions by raising the standard salary limit from $23,660 to $47,476 annually. Salaried workers—over 4 million Americans—earning less than the new cutoff salary will be eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week.

“Across the political spectrum, it's now acknowledged that expanding economic opportunity is a critical part of reversing the tide of extreme inequality,” said Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, in response to the news. “I am so encouraged by the groundswell of support for efforts to close the gender wage gap and to raise the minimum wage, for example. These are necessary steps toward economic fairness. The Labor Department's new action on overtime pay is likewise commendable and important. The rule will create greater financial stability for millions of Americans now working longer or unlimited overtime hours without compensation.”

The National Employment Law Project (NELP), a prominent advocate for workers’ rights and a Ford grantee, strongly supported the new rule, which will increase economic security and opportunity for all American workers.  “The Labor Department’s update of the overtime salary threshold is the right thing to do,” explained NELP executive director Christine Owens. “NELP and its partners will stand with working people all across America to fight for full and final implementation of the revised overtime regulation.”

Some have expressed concern that the new rule will impact the bottom line for businesses, including nonprofit organizations, which have historically restricted budgets for employee compensation and business operations. But the nonprofit sector has long championed fair worker compensation, and this rule is an opportunity for them to embrace those values within their own organizations—even if doing so is challenging.

“As a sector devoted to improving lives, philanthropy must play its part—ensuring that we enable the nonprofits we support to cover the true costs of operating their businesses, including fair compensation,” Walker said. “We know nonprofits want to do the right thing and often make hard decisions to stretch limited resources as far as possible. At Ford, we are looking closely at the true costs of running nonprofits as we work to build institutions and ensure our grantees have the capacity to be at their best for years to come. This rule change is the right thing to do for working families across the country, and it’s an important step toward a more just and inclusive economy.”

Read an article about the new overtime rule in The New York Times, and a fact sheet about it from the White House—plus a blog post from Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.

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The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.