Workplace Fairness


Skip to main content

  • print
  • decrease text sizeincrease text size

This week in the war on workers: What happens if Obama’s overtime expansion is reversed?

Share this post


President Obama’s expansion of overtime pay goes into effect on December 1. But what happens if it gets rolled back in 2017? Here are some of the Department of Labor’s takeaways from a Congressional Budget Office report:

  1. CBO finds that reversing the rule would strip nearly 4 million workers of overtime protections. According to the report, there are nearly 4 million workers whose employers will be required to pay them overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week when the rule goes into effect.
  2. CBO finds that reversing the rule would reduce workers’ earnings while increasing the hours they work. The report finds that if the rule is reversed, the total annual earnings of all affected workers would decrease by more than $500 million in 2017. Further, these workers would earn less money while working more hours.
  3. At a time when income inequality is already of great concern, CBO finds that reversing the rule would primarily benefit people with high incomes. If the rule were reversed, affected workers, most of whom have moderate incomes, would experience a loss in earnings. These losses would be accompanied by an increase in firms’ profits, of which the vast majority (CBO estimates 85 percent) would accrue to people in the top income quintile.
  4. CBO finds that reversing the rule would not create or save jobs. The report finds no significant impact on the number of jobs in the economy.

Nearly 4 million workers.

This article originally appeared at on November 19, 2016. Reprinted with permission.

Laura Clawson is a Daily Kos contributing editor since December 2006. Labor editor since 2011.

Share this post

A Decade of High Unemployment & Falling Wages… Or We Could Create Jobs & Help our Cities

Share this post

amytraub4Left to itself, the U.S. economy may not return to its pre-recession rate of unemployment until 2021, says a new study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Even under the more optimistic growth assumptions of the Congressional Budget Office, we’ve got five more years of high unemployment coming, as CEPR notes.

If that’s not troubling enough, consider this: millions of jobless Americans means lower wages for those lucky enough to be employed. Median wages rose just 0.8% over the last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, failing to keep up with even the low 1.8% rate of inflation. In real (inflation adjusted) terms, that’s a wage drop. “Excess supply in the labor market — 14.6 million Americans were unemployed as of June — has helped keep wage growth in check,” the Wall Street Journal explains. Or, in the more gleeful terms used by a financial analyst quoted by Bloomberg news last month:

“Companies are getting higher-productivity employees for the same or lower wage rate they were paying a marginal employee. Not only are employees higher skilled, you have a better skill match. You have a more productive and more adaptive labor force.”

That’s great for business – and helps explain the 44% increase in corporate profits this year – but considerably worse news for anyone trying to work for a living. Without more job creation or growing wages, economic recovery doesn’t translate into anything that benefits the vast majority of Americans.

So what’s to be done? It would be easy to move from economic despondency to political despair: although smart job creation measures from Congress could brighten the economic picture considerably, the tremendous difficulty of passing even a six-month extension in bare bones unemployment insurance has convinced many analysts that additional federal job creation measures are off the table. Ezra Klein, however, suggests a glimmer of hope: if the Senate is unwilling to pass a job creation bill based on deficit spending, why not call Republicans’ bluff and try to fund specific job creation measures with tax increases the American people support? It all reminds me of the American Jobs Plan the Economic Policy Institute unveiled last year, which proposes a stock transfer tax to fund a local-level public jobs program, budget relief for city and state governments, and investments in school facilities and transportation infrastructure. Just seeing the fight to pass a visionary plan like that would be enough to dispel some gloom.

About the Author: Amy Traub is the Director of Research at the Drum Major Institute. A native of the Cleveland area, Amy is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Chicago. She received a graduate fellowship to study political science at Columbia University, where she earned her Masters degree in 2001 and completed coursework towards a Ph.D. Funded by a field research grant from the Tinker Foundation, Amy conducted original research in Mexico City, exploring the development of the Mexican student movement. Before coming to the Drum Major Institute, Amy headed the research department of a major New York City labor union, where her efforts contributed to the resolution of strikes and successful union organizing campaigns by hundreds of working New Yorkers.

Share this post

Follow this Blog

Subscribe via RSS Subscribe via RSS

Or, enter your address to follow via email:

Recent Posts

Forbes Best of the Web, Summer 2004
A Forbes "Best of the Web" Blog


  • Tracking image for JustAnswer widget
  • Find an Employment Lawyer

  • Support Workplace Fairness


Find an Employment Attorney

The Workplace Fairness Attorney Directory features lawyers from across the United States who primarily represent workers in employment cases. Please note that Workplace Fairness does not operate a lawyer referral service and does not provide legal advice, and that Workplace Fairness is not responsible for any advice that you receive from anyone, attorney or non-attorney, you may contact from this site.