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July 1, 2015

Overtime: Finally, A Break for the Middle Class

Overtime pay has become such a rarity that many Americans don't even realize that the majority of salaried workers were once eligible for it. We just keep working longer and harder, for less. A recent Gallup poll found that salaried Americans now report working an average of 47 hours a week -- not the supposedly standard 40 -- while 18 percent of Americans report working more than 60 hours a week. Meanwhile, corporate profits have doubled over the last three decades -- from about 6 percent of GDP to about 12 percent -- while wages have fallen by almost exactly the same amount. The erosion of overtime and other labor protections is one of the main factors worsening inequality. A higher overtime threshold will help reverse this trend.

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