Obama set to expand overtime pay for millions of workers

President Obama on Monday announced new rules that will require businesses to pay millions of additional American workers overtime wages.
 
The long-awaited regulation would make all salaried workers who earn less than $970 per week, roughly $50,440 per year, automatically eligible to earn overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week. The cutoff under existing rules is around $23,660 per year.
 
"In this country, a hard day's work deserves a fair day's pay," Obama wrote in an op-ed for The Huffington Post. "That's at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America."
 
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President Obama will tout the proposal during an event Thursday in La Crosse, Wis.
 
The move could raise pay for nearly 5 million American workers and is a central part of a White House push launched last year to reduce income inequality.
 
Obama first announced his intention to overhaul federal overtime rules last March. The rules were due this February, but the Labor Department missed its deadline.
 
Under current rules, employees who make more than $455 a week, or $23,660 per year, and work more than 40 hours a week are considered management and are not eligible for overtime pay.
 
"Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve," Obama wrote. "That's partly because we've failed to update overtime regulations for years."
 
The new rules will be subject to a public comment period and could take effect in 2016.
 
Business groups and Republicans in Congress, though, oppose the change. GOP members of the House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing earlier this month to blast the rules. 
 
But the president has the backing of Democrats and labor unions, who have urged the administration to raise the overtime threshold as high as it can.
 
The new rules are "good for workers who want fair pay, and it's good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve -- since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren't," Obama wrote. 

This story was updated at 9:47 p.m.