This Sunday, as we celebrate Mother’s Day and honor all of the extraordinary women who have cared for us, let’s recommit ourselves to building an economy that gives all moms the opportunity to care for their families.
President Obama believes that if you work hard, you should have the opportunity to succeed. So in March, the president asked the Department of Labor to update overtime pay protections to ensure that more Americans who work overtime get the pay that they’ve earned.
Nancy Minor, a refinery worker and mother of four, joined us for the announcement. For the past 16 years Nancy has supported her family alone and she has made it work. She has made it work because she gets paid overtime. When Nancy works more than 40 hours in a workweek, she gets paid more for that time and the extra income has allowed her to provide for her family.
Workers like Nancy who are paid hourly wages or who earn below a certain salary generally receive overtime pay, while those above the threshold who perform executive, professional or administrative duties do not. But here’s the problem: the threshold has only been updated twice in the last 40 years, eroding basic protections for millions of low-paid workers and leaving them without the pay they deserve. The current threshold of $455 per week is below today’s poverty line for a worker supporting a family of four. That’s not right.
Mothers have spent too long working more and getting less in return. Today women hold the majority of low-wage jobs and are either the sole or primary source of income in 40 percent of all families with children. The majority of women in low-wage jobs have little control over their work schedules, something that can have a profound impact on their ability to access quality, affordable, and stable child care. It’s time to we build an economy that works for all moms. So we’re going to update overtime rules to restore the principle that if you work more, you should be able to earn more.
Although we are still several months away from issuing a proposed rule, we have already begun conversations with workers and businesses all across the country. Their views and experiences will help us propose changes to the white-collar overtime rules that work for everyone.
As we continue to have those conversations, I will be thinking about Nancy Minor and about the positive impact overtime protections can have for working moms everywhere. On this Mother’s Day, I hope that you will too.