Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

House passes bill that allows comp time for private sector workers

House passes bill that allows comp time for private sector workers House passes bill that allows comp time for private sector workers
Ellis Copeland | 03 May, 2017, 22:08

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Working Families Flexibility Act allowing workers to opt for comp time instead of pay.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where some Democratic support is needed to keep it from stalling as it has in past years.

However, critics argue that it will undermine the Fair Labor Standards Act and lead to situations in which workers are pressured to take PTO instead of time-and-a-half pay.

But Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the committee's highest-ranking Democrat, said that although the law now allows public-sector employers to substitute comp time for overtime pay, government entities "don't have the same incentive to underpay workers that the private sector has". Any hours over that were to be paid at 1.5 times the regular rate (commonly known as "time-and-a-half"). The comp time bill is now referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "Some employers are just like 'I would rather pay the straight option, '" Lisa Horn, director of Congressional affairs for the Society for Human Resource Management, told The Washington Post.

Here's what you need to know about the Working Families Flexibility Act - and how it might affect you.

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Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, favors the measure getting a vote in the Senate "when time allows", Taylor Haulsee, a spokesman, said in an email. A similar one passed the House in 1996, 1997 and 2013, only to fail to get through the Senate - where its again faces hurdles.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of MA - a Democrat who has made workers' protections her flagship cause and sits on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions - called the bill a "disgrace" on Twitter. "But today, House Republicans are actually voting to make it legal for employers to cheat their workers out of overtime pay".

Do you think a bill like this would give you greater flexibility, or lead to the loss of overtime? Although its fate is unclear in the Senate this year, the White House said Tuesday that it supports the bill, saying in a statement that it would "help American workers balance the competing demands of family and work by giving them flexibility to earn paid time off". Six Republicans voted against it. The White House said in a news release that the president's advisers would recommend Trump sign the bill into law if it was presented to him in its current form.

Allow employers to offer employees a choice between cash wages and accruing comp time for overtime hours worked.

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