East Carolina University

Q&A: How new US overtime rules could help or hurt employees

More pay? Or just fewer work hours?

The new overtime rule the Obama administration issued Wednesday could mean thicker paychecks for some Americans who work longer hours — or, just reduced time on the job.

The rule doubles the salary level that employees must receive to be ineligible for overtime pay. If they earn less than the new threshold, they get 1½ times regular wages for any work done beyond 40 hours a week. The threshold will be $47,500 a year, up from the current $23,660. Hourly workers are already entitled to overtime pay.

Labor Secretary Tom Perez said the change, which will take effect Dec. 1, will qualify 4.2 million more workers for overtime...