Passed during the Great Depression, America’s overtime law was meant to protect workers from being worked too long and paid too little. The rules guarantee that workers get paid extra when they work extra. The rules also discourage employers from working employees long hours by making it more expensive to do so, through a time-and-a-half pay premium.
Today, certain professionals and managers are exempt from overtime pay if they make more than $23,660 a year and perform specific duties. This salary threshold has not been changed since 2004 and is now below the poverty line for a family of four. Employers must begin using the new salary threshold of $47,476 by December 1, 2016. This threshold will be updated every three years starting in 2020.