Governor Whitmer looking to make more Michigan workers eligible for overtime pay

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Governor Gretchen Whitmer is looking to make more Michigan workers eligible for overtime pay across the state.

Today, Whitmer directed the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to submit a request for rule making to raise the threshold for Michigan workers who are eligible for overtime pay.

The rule would raise the state overtime pay threshold. No official threshold has been released by the governor at this point, but it would be higher than the federal threshold that was just set last month.

President Trump’s administration raised the federal threshold from $23,660 to $35,568 last month. Across the country, every hourly worker who makes that salary wage or lower, is entitled to overtime pay.

Whitmer says it’s still leaving some Michigan workers out of the mix, but her changes will fix that.

“These new rules will guarantee that overtime pay protections will happen for nearly 200,000 more Michigan families,” said Whitmer.

President and CEO for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Rich Studley, says her plan is expensive and dangerous.

“The fundamental problem here is, money doesn’t grow on trees,” said Studley.

He added that the chamber is disappointed in the governor and that her decision could take a turn for the worst.

“We believe this unilateral action by the Governor is reckless because it bypasses the legislative process and it would take the overtime threshold too high too fast,” said Studley.

Today, Whitmer mentioned former president Barack Obama’s $47,000 federal threshold and the United Way ALICE report that found a family of four needs $61,000 to support basic needs. Studley says if Whitmer sets it that high, the economy could suffer.

“You will see employers either raise prices and lose business, or they will reduce the hours for employees because employers can’t print money,” said Studley.

Once the request for rulemaking is submitted, finalization of the rule could take up 6 to 12 months.

Studley added that many lawmakers and organizations, like the Chamber of Commerce, will be looking into whether the governor has the authority to change a rule like this, or not.

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