President Obama will attempt to overhaul overtime pay for millions of Americans this week, NBC News has confirmed.
It is the president’s latest attempt to confront stagnating wages and help give a boost to the middle class.
On Thursday, Obama will direct the Labor Department to revamp overtime pay regulations, making several million people who are classified as “executive or professional” employees, with jobs like fast-food managers and computer technicians, eligible for overtime pay where they had previously not been.
It’s the second big move to elevate worker wages in just a few months.
In January, the president announced he’d use an executive order to raise minimum wage for federal contracters. Both efforts are seen as part of an election-year effort by the White House to try to convince voters that Democrats are working for the middle class.
Changes to the overtime regulations will be subject to public comment; the business lobby will undoubtedly oppose the measure and could produce changes to the president’s proposals before final Labor Department approval, according to the New York Times.
It’s the president’s latest use of executive authority to accomplish some of his goals amid strong Republican opposition in Congress; it will likely draw ire from the Republicans who have criticized his use of executive orders and economic agenda alike.
But instead of an executive order, the president will use authority granted to him by the Fair Labor Standards Act, passed by Congress in 1938, just as predecessors including George W. Bush did in the past to circumvent Congress.
Despite the recent flurry of executive orders and criticisms from the GOP, the president had signed fewer executive orders than any other president in the last five decades, as of February.