Attorney General Moves to Block Pay Raise for Wisconsin Workers
New overtime rule would be an economic boon for Wisconsin
Statewide – Wisconsin has joined a group of states suing the U.S. Department of Labor over revised overtime rules that will raise wages for millions of workers. The rule is slated to take effect December 1. If the lawsuit is successful, workers across Wisconsin would be denied a much needed pay raise at the start of the holiday season.
If enacted, workers in every region of Wisconsin will be be rewarded for their hard work. When workers have more money in their pockets to spend in local communities, employment increases and prosperity expands. The economic impact of the overtime rule will be dramatic in every metro area of Wisconsin.
Table: Overtime bonus per average worker from new federal rule by metropolitan area
|Metropolitan Area||Median Annual Wage, 20151||Average Weekly Overtime bonus, 47 hours2||Average Annual Overtime Bonus, 47 hours/week2|
|Milwaukee/Waukesha||$37,190||+$188 per week||+$9,776 per year|
|Fond Du Lac||$34,778||+$176||+$9,152|
1 – Source: May 2015 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Median Annual Salary for All Occupations, Bureau of Labor Statistics
2 – Source: Economic Policy Institute Overtime Calculator
The Department of Labor announced that salaried workers earning up to $47,476 per year will be eligible for overtime pay. Previous rules relied on an outdated formula which excluded employees making more than $23,660 a year.
An estimated 198,000 salaried employees in Wisconsin, one out of four, will be eligible for substantial pay raises if they work more than 40 hours per week. Gallup reports that half of all salaried employees work over 40 hours, and the average salaried employee works 47 hours in per week.
The federal overtime rule revision is overwhelmingly popular in Wisconsin, with support from 81% of voters, according to Public Policy Polling.
“For years the economic deck has been stacked against working families, who have been working harder and harder with little more to show for it,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The new federal overtime rule will mean that more will be rewarded for working longer hours, boosting consumer spending in our local economies as families can afford to go out to dinner, buy necessities, and send their kids to college. That Wisconsin’s Attorney General would take it upon himself to try and block this much needed pay raise reveals the economic bankruptcy of the low road labor strategy conservatives in charge of state government have pursued.”
A salaried employee in Waukesha earning the median annual salary of $37,190 working 47 hours a week will earn an extra $188 per week, or $9,776 per year. Under current rules that stack the deck against working families, that same employee today would be uncompensated for the extra hours they work.
This change will be especially beneficial in Wisconsin, which has seen the largest decline in middle class wages in the United States since 2000.
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