More people could be eligible for overtime pay if the White House has its way.

Last week, President Barack Obama announced plans to double the threshold of workers eligible for overtime pay to $50,440 per year. According to the administration, this gesture would expand the number of America’s salaried workforce eligible for overtime from 8 percent to 40 percent. That would cover 5 million more workers.

In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, Obama explained why his administration came to this conclusion. “That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve—since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren’t,” he said.

“The rules that establish which workers are exempt from overtime pay haven’t kept up with the cost of living,” stated a Department of Labor fact sheet. “Today, certain professionals and managers are exempt from overtime if they make more than $23,660 a year and perform specific duties. This is less than the poverty threshold for family of four.”

The current overtime salary threshold of $23,660 per year ($455 per week) has been lifted once since 1975. According to the Economic Policy Institute, around that time, 65 percent of salaried workers fell under the threshold. Currently, only 11 percent of salaried workers benefit.

Some unions have already come out in support of the new proposal, saying the new rule would provide a disincentive for squeezing employees to work more or to work inhospitable hours.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said the Labor Department proposal would help the quality of life of working families and union members.

“This new rule is an urgently needed change that will deliver justice to millions of workers who selflessly devote a huge part of their lives to their job and profession,” said Weingarten in a statement. “It could mean increased compensation for thousands of AFT members, including public employees, nurses and school-based paraprofessionals, who work long hours for their patients and students.”

Weingarten also said the new rule would hedge against mandatory overtime by pushing management to revise expectations of 50- to 70-hour work weeks. She also believes that the overtime rule should be regularly reviewed to keep pace with the economy and ensure fairness.

“Having finally raised the threshold, we cannot afford to let the standards effectively decrease again,” said Weingarten. “The new threshold should be pegged to inflation and continually revisited to ensure productivity gains are reflected in workers’ paychecks—which will in turn build an economy that works for everyone for years to come.”