Labor Day law changes that could affect your paycheck

The history of Labor Day

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer and one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. But there's more to this holiday held on the first Monday each September — and it has to do with your paycheck.

Here's a guide to the history behind Labor Day, and recent laws that affect the paychecks of millions of Americans today.

Labor Day History and Its Meaning

Labor Day acts as a yearly tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers, according to the Department of Labor. New York City held the first Labor Day celebration on Sept. 5, 1882, in collaboration with the Central Labor Union.

The first governmental recognition of the labor movement occurred as municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886, and although the first state bill was introduced in New York, Oregon was actually the first to secure state legislation in recognition of Labor Day in 1887. That same year, New York, New Jersey, Colorado and Massachusetts created a Labor Day holiday.

By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday. That June, Congress passed an act declaring the first Monday of September a legal national holiday.

Laws That Affect Your Paycheck on Labor Day

Between the Affordable Care Act and changes to overtime pay, you might be seeing changes in your paycheck. Whether for better or worse, here are four ways your paycheck is changing.

The Final Rule on Overtime Pay

In May 2016, President Obama announced the Final Rule updating overtime laws, a change that will affect more than 4 million American workers over the next year. The Final Rule focuses on changing salary and compensation levels for executive, administrative and professional workers to be exempt from overtime pay, defined as one and a half times your normal hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 40 in a regular work week.

With this change, workers will need to earn a minimum of $47,476 per year, or $913 per week, to be exempt from overtime pay, effective Dec. 1, 2016. Compare this to the current $23,660 per year, or $455 per week, salary minimum that was set in 2004.

Also Read: What's Hillary Clinton's Plan for the Middle Class?

The Final Rule's increased salary level will result in bigger paychecks for many Americans who did not receive overtime before. However, some employers might make changes that could shrink employees' paychecks.

For instance, your employer could simply change your salary to the newly-increased minimum of $47,476 to avoid paying you overtime. Or, you could be required to log your hours more diligently and not go over 40 hours a week so as to not receive overtime pay.

2016 Minimum Wage Jump for Federal Contractors

Under Executive Order 13658, the Department of Labor increased the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.15 per hour, effective Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2016. Covered tipped employees are now required to receive a wage of at least $5.85 per hour, as well, and if a worker's combined wage and cash tips do not meet the $10.15 per hour minimum, the contractor must make up the difference by increasing wages paid.

2010 Affordable Care Act

An estimated 15 million Americans were self-employed in 2015, and as of July 2016, nearly 7.8 million were unemployed. Although the Affordable Care Act affects all Americans, the 2010 law could be weighing down, in particular, the savings of self-employed and unemployed Americans.

Under the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, if you are self-employed or unemployed and can afford health care but choose not to buy it, you'll end up paying a fee called an individual shared responsibility payment. You'll owe this fee for any and all months you, your spouse or tax dependents aren't covered by health insurance.

In 2016, the fee for not having health insurance is the greater of:

  • 2.5 percent of your household income, with the maximum totaling the annual premium for a Bronze health care plan; or
  • $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18, with the maximum being $2,085

This fee has increased over the years, too. In 2015, it was 1 percent of your household income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child.

2009 Minimum Wage Change

The federal minimum wage was set to $7.25 in 2009, resulting in full-time minimum wage workers seeing a monthly income increase of $120. Prior to this update, the federal minimum wage was changed to $6.55 per hour in 2008 and $5.85 per hour in 2007.

The federal minimum wage, established by the Fair Labor Standards Act, is an important factor to consider when looking at the American economy. An estimated 870,000 workers ages 16 and older earned exactly the federal minimum wage in 2015, while 1.7 million were paid wages below the minimum wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When the federal minimum wage was increased in 2009, millions of workers across 30 states saw more money in their paychecks.

As of March 2016, 29 states and the District of Columbia had minimum wages higher than the current federal minimum. This year, New York City and the District of Columbia both passed laws to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018 and 2020, respectively. California passed a similar law to increase the minimum wage to $15 for employers with 26 or more employees by Jan. 1, 2023.

Some larger cities, such as Seattle and Chicago, have voted to incrementally increase the city's minimum rate to $15 an hour, as well. With more states and cities voting on $15 per hour rates, workers across the country could see significant increases in their paychecks in the future.

Find Out: How Far Your Paycheck Goes in the 10 Biggest U.S. Cities

This article originally appeared on Labor Day Law Changes That Could Affect Your Paycheck

RELATED: 10 money-saving fast-food hacks
10 money-saving fast-food hacks
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10 money-saving fast-food hacks

Restaurant: McDonald’s

Hack: Order two four-piece nuggets instead of one six-piece. It’s cheaper, you get more nuggets and you get more sauces. Score.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: McDonald’s

Hack: Order a McDouble without the ketchup and mustard but with lettuce and Big Mac sauce. You'll pay for the Big Mac taste for the price of a McDouble.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Chipotle

Hack: Order half of one protein and half of another kind (like chicken and steak). You’ll almost always get more than half of each and end up with up to 1.5x the protein in your burrito or bowl for the price of a normal portion.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Arby’s

Hack: Order two junior roast beef sandwiches instead of one regular classic. You'll end up with more meat for a lower price.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Jamba Juice

Hack: Substitute any ingredient in any smoothie for the same price. If you’re craving a smoothie with non-fat yogurt instead of mango, or extra strawberries instead of blueberries, customize it to your liking without any extra charge. It will save you more than being charged for creating your own smoothie from scratch.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Jack in the Box

Hack: Order two Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers and combine them into one for a much cheaper version of a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger. 

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: McDonald’s

Hack: Order a sausage McMuffin off of the dollar menu but ask for the sausage to be substituted with egg—an egg McMuffin for a dollar.

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Any pizza place

Hack: When you call to order delivery, ask if there were any orders that weren’t delivered—the pizza place will often give you those orders for a discounted price (perfect if cold pizza is your thing.)

Photo credit: Getty

Restaurant: Subway

Hack: Order a Double Steak and Cheese Sub instead of the Philly Cheese Steak Sub—you’ll get the same sandwich at a normal foot-long price.

Photo credit: Getty


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