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Economic Prosperity

State Representatives and Policy Experts Urge Action on Overtime Pay, Call Out GOP Obstruction

Apr 03, 2018

Today at the Ohio Statehouse, Representatives Brigid Kelly and Kent Smith, along with Policy Matters Ohio’s Hannah Halbert, urged action on the nation’s severely outdated overtime pay rules. The event also highlighted how the Trump administration — as well as special interests and Republican officials — are obstructing a rule that would ensure that workers are paid fairly for the hours they work.

“Because of outdated overtime rules, millions of working people are working overtime and aren’t getting paid for it,”  said Rep. Brigid Kelly, Ohio House District 31. “We can’t boost our economy by staying stuck in the past. We need to modernize overtime pay to give more people the opportunity to have a better life.”

Kelly added, “If Congress or the Trump administration doesn’t act — as they haven’t — states can and should set their own standards to strengthen overtime and protect more workers.”

“Ohio’s middle class and working families are falling farther behind due to stagnant wages. Ohioans are working hard, and earning less,” said Rep. Kent Smith, Ohio House District 8. “These are Ohio families who are struggling to put food on the table. These are Ohioans who are challenged every month to make ends meet. These are the Ohio school kids that are falling behind their peers because they’re  growing up in economically disadvantaged homes. These are the Ohio families that are in the middle of a crisis, or on the edge of crisis.

“The people who are working overtime hours should be paid for it,” Smith continued.

“Ohioans need overtime laws that reflect the realities of today’s labor market,” said Hannah Halbert of Policy Matters Ohio. “The Trump Department of Labor worked to block the rules from taking effect, letting down working people.”

Ohio Rep. Kent Smith (center) joins Ohio Rep. Brigid Kelly (left) and Policy Matters Ohio’s Hannah Halbert (right) for a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse urging action on overtime pay.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor strengthened an existing rule requiring employers to pay workers overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week. The new rule directly benefited an estimated 12.5 million American workers, including 351,000 Ohioans. Unfortunately, special interests and Republican officials waged a campaign to block the rule and deny millions of Americans a raise, and the Trump administration has responded by effectively abandoning the rule.

Without the new rule, Ohio workers are losing more than $123,000 in wages every day – more than $45 million in lost wages each year.

The press conference was organized by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Economic Policy Institute, For Ohio’s Future Action Fund, Innovation Ohio, Policy Matters Ohio, and ProgressOhio.