Most voters want to expand overtime pay, survey finds

Most voters want to expand overtime pay, survey finds
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A majority of Americans believe more workers should be paid overtime for the long hours they work, according to a new survey.

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, found that three out of four voters support a “substantial increase” in the number of people who qualify for overtime pay.

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Currently, most employees who work more than 40 hours in a week do not qualify for overtime pay. Federal law exempts companies from paying time and a half to many workers who make more than $23,000 a year. 

The Department of Labor is developing a new rule that would raise that salary threshold so workers who make more money qualify for overtime pay.

The Labor Department hasn’t yet said how high it will raise the salary threshold, but the new survey shows considerable support from both Democratic and Republican voters for raising it significantly.

“Americans think the current overtime thresholds are absurdly low— they don’t just support an increase — they support a tripling of the current limit,” the survey found.

Three out of four voters say they support an unquantified “substantial increase” in the salary threshold for overtime pay. While 65 percent of voters say they would like to see the salary threshold tripled to include workers making up to $75,000 a year.

“Supporting a substantial increase in the overtime threshold has the potential to be a big winner for leaders who support it,” the survey suggested. 

Nearly two-thirds of voters are more likely to vote for a politician who backs rules expanding overtime pay, according to the survey.

--This report was updated at 1:10 p.m.