A Hard Day’s Work Deserves a Fair Day’s Pay

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by Barack Obama,

from The Huffington Post,

… if we are to succeed in making sure this recovery reaches all hardworking Americans and their families.

We’ve got to keep making sure hard work is rewarded. Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve. That’s partly because we’ve failed to update overtime regulations for years — and an exemption meant for highly paid, white collar employees now leaves out workers making as little as $23,660 a year — no matter how many hours they work.

This week, I’ll head to Wisconsin to discuss my plan to extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers in 2016, covering all salaried workers making up to about $50,400 next year. That’s 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.

That’s how America should do business. In this country, a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. That’s at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America.

As president, my top priority is to strengthen the middle class, expand opportunity and grow the economy. That’s why I believe in middle-class economics — the idea that our country does best when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. It’s driven me from day one. It’s fueled our American comeback. And it’s at the heart of the fundamental choice our country faces today.

More From The Huffington Post:

Example: Gassan Marzuq never made it to his son’s graduation. A manager at Dunkin’ Donuts, Gassan was working overtime at Dunkin’ Donuts the day his son became a high school graduate.

Missing his son’s graduation, however, was just the salt in the wound. A salaried employee, Gassan had regularly worked 75 hours a week without receiving a dime in overtime pay. His employer would call on him to cover shifts and work extra hours, and unlike the hourly employees, they didn’t have to pay him for it. Why? Because Gassan earned more than the salary threshold of $455 a week (or $23,600 a year) below which all workers are eligible for overtime. And because Marzuq was a manager, his employer classified him as an executive and thus exempt from overtime pay. So he missed his kids’ activities, their parent-teacher conferences, their sports games. He missed their growing up. According to his lawyer, he was never paid for all those hours he spent away working overtime.

Gassan filed a lawsuit against his employer, a company that runs 50 Dunkin’ Donuts shops in Massachusetts, arguing that he should have been paid overtime.