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Make less than $55,000? The Labor Department wants you to get overtime pay

Photo of a clock. (Provided Photo/Shutterstock via CNN)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed a new rule that would update who’s eligible for overtime.

Under the new proposal, salaried workers who make less than $55,000 a year, or $1,059 a week, will become eligible for overtime. Currently, that threshold stands at $35,568 a year, or $684 a week. The DOL estimates that the rule will make 3.6 million salaried workers eligible for overtime protections. The threshold would also get automatically updated every three years based on workers’ earnings.

“For too long, many low-paid salaried workers have been denied overtime pay, even though they often work long hours and perform much of the same work as their hourly counterparts,” said Jessica Looman, who heads the Labor Department office that enforces wage laws.

Currently, full-time workers earn median weekly wages of $1,100, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning about 3.6 million salaried workers would benefit.

“For over 80 years, a cornerstone of workers’ rights in this country is the right to a 40-hour workweek, the promise that you get to go home after 40 hours, or you get higher pay for each extra hour that you spend laboring away from your loved ones,” said Julie Su, the United States deputy secretary of labor, in a statement. “I’ve heard from workers again and again about working long hours, for no extra pay, all while earning low salaries that don’t come anywhere close to compensating them for their sacrifices.”

Roughly 15% of salaried workers are now entitled to overtime pay, according to the Associated Press. If the new rule passes, nearly 30% of salaried workers would become eligible for overtime, though that’s far lower than the 60% of salaried workers who were entitled to overtime pay in the 1970’s, the AP reports.

Publication of the proposal will kick off a 60-day public comment period.