Under the new regulation to be issued by the Labor Department on Wednesday, most salaried workers earning up to $47,476 a year must receive time-and-a-half overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours during a week. The previous cutoff for overtime pay, set in 2004, was $23,660.
“This is a big deal to be able to help that many working people without Congress having to pass a new law,” said Ross Eisenbrey of the Economic Policy Institute, an early voice in urging the administration to take up the issue. “It’s really restoring rights that people had for decades and lost.”
The change is expected to play out in a variety of ways. Once the rule goes into effect on Dec. 1, many workers will receive more pay when they work overtime, but others may end up working fewer hours if employers move to limit their time at work. In other cases, employers may decide to increase the salaries of some workers to push them over the cutoff so that the employers will not have to pay overtime or hire additional workers after limiting hours for existing employees.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who will travel to Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday to promote the new rules, said they touched on a core issue for Mr. Obama — ensuring that middle-class workers are treated fairly.
“The middle class is getting clobbered,” Mr. Biden told reporters. “If you work overtime, you should actually get paid for working overtime.”
“For the past 40 years, overtime protections have been increasingly weakened,” Mr. Biden added, noting that more than 60 percent of salaried workers qualified for overtime in 1975 based on their salaries, but only 7 percent do today.