House Republicans, led by Representative Martha Roby (R-AL), today introduced legislation that will remove an unnecessary federal restriction on the private-sector and help Americans better balance family and work. The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1406) would allow private-sector workers to receive paid time off or "comp time' for overtime hours worked. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and original cosponsor of the bill, will chair a legislative hearing on Thursday, April 11 at 10 a.m. to discuss the proposal. The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
"I often meet working moms and dads who say they need more time to spend with family or to take care of responsibilities outside of work," said Rep. Roby. "But right now the law prohibits private businesses from offering comp time options for their employees, even though it is legal in the public sector. Washington shouldn't stand in the way of an employer and an employee coming to a "comp time' agreement that each is happy with. As a working mom myself, I'm proud to carry legislation that will empower employees with more freedom to control their overtime compensation so they can budget more time to spend with their families."
According to a 2013 Pew Research survey, 53 percent of working parents say it is difficult to balance the responsibilities of family and the workplace. For nearly 30 years, public-sector workers have been able to receive comp time for working overtime hours, allowing greater flexibility to meet family obligations. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 prevents private-sector workers from enjoying the same benefit.
"The workforce has changed dramatically over the years, yet some federal laws remain stuck in the past," said House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN). "Too many Americans struggle to care for their families while also meeting the demands of work. No one should miss an important event in a child's life or be denied time with an aging relative because of some outdated federal law. By providing more flexibility, this commonsense proposal will help strengthen families and support a more prosperous workforce."
The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013:
*Allows employers to offer employees a choice between cash wages and comp time for overtime hours worked. Employees who want to receive cash wages would continue to do so.
*Protects employees by requiring the employer and the employee to complete a written agreement to use comp time, entered into knowingly and voluntarily by the employee.
*Retains all existing employee protections in current law, including the 40 hour work week and how overtime compensation is accrued. The bill adds additional safeguards for workers to ensure the choice and use of comp time are truly voluntary.
*Allows employees to accrue up to 160 hours of comp time each year. An employer would be required to pay cash wages for any unused time at the end of the year. Workers are free to "cash out' their accrued comp time whenever they choose to do so.