The U.S. Department of Labor is planning on amending the Fair Labor Standards Act so that more workers will be eligible for mandatory time-and-a-half pay for overtime hours. And, not surprisingly, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute, women and minorities will benefit much more from such a change than white males.

The study looked at what it would mean to double the existing threshold pay level that triggers the overtime pay. A threshold for professional overtime hours was set in 1975 at $455 per week so that professionals who were well paid at the time wouldn't have to be paid extra, while those who could be seen as a financial disadvantage compared to other managers/professionals would be protected from abuse. The threshold has not been increased since 1975, and the likelihood is that it will increase to $1,000 a week or more.

The institute reviewed the workforce that is currently covered by the law; 21.7 million workers are currently exempt from the law. An increase to about $1,000 a week would cover an additional 6.1 million workers. Looking at those now exempt — the 21.7 million — by race and gender, here's what emerged:

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.