The Budget and Tax Center’s recent report, “The Future of Work and Ensuring Job Quality in North Carolina,” mentions expanded overtime protections as part of their fair wage package. One proposed rule from the Obama Administration is poised to make that expansion happen.

As it stands right now, the Fair Labor Standards Act covers a narrow selection of workers when it comes to overtime pay. The current salary threshold is $455 a week, or $23,660 a year, and was last updated in 2004. Any workers whose salaries exceed that amount can’t earn the standard “time and a half” for working overtime. This threshold leaves out a huge swath of American workers who are putting in extra hours and not receiving pay that values that extra time. 

The proposed rule would raise that salary cap to $970 a week, or $50,440 a year. That would impact 160,000 working North Carolinians who are currently putting in overtime hours but not receiving overtime pay. The most affected industries would be office and administrative support; transportation and material moving; construction and extraction; installation, maintenance, and repair; and production.[1]

Passing this rule would serve as a strong anti-poverty measure for North Carolina, providing low-income workers with the economic security their extra hours should earn.

[1] Economic Policy Institute. (4 August 2015). “Why It’s Time to Update Overtime Pay Rules.” Available at