A bill proposed by U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) to help more Americans balance the time demands of family and work is gaining momentum and could be up for a vote of the full House as soon as early May.
More than 160 Members of Congress -- including all 21 House standing committee chairmen - have signed on to co-sponsor the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1406). Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) highlighted the bill as part of a broader agenda applying conservative principles to help solve real-world problems for everyday Americans.
"When we get back, after the district work period next week, we are going to be taking up Representative Martha Roby's bill, the Working Families Flexibility Act," Majority Leader Cantor said. "It helps working moms and dads by taking away the government impediment to employers and employees, so they can enter a voluntary employment arrangement where they can get comp-time instead of time-and-a-half overtime in order to go to pediatrician appointments, PTA meetings and the rest."
The bill would allow private-sector workers to arrange with their employer to receive paid time off, or "comp time," in lieu of cash wages for overtime, if they so choose. The "comp time" option is legal and commonly used in the public sector thanks to a 1985 revision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, but remains restricted by federal law for private businesses and their employees.
"I greatly appreciate the support of my colleagues in our effort to end an outdated federal regulation and offer working Americans more time flexibility in the workplace," Rep. Roby said. "As a working mom, this bill is personal to me. I understand the time demands on working families, including children's activities, caring for aging parents or even a spouse's military deployment. It only makes sense that our laws governing the workplace catch up to the realities of today's families. The Working Families Flexibility Act would finally offer Americans working in the private sector what their peers in the public sector already enjoy -- more freedom and more control over their time.
"Working with my colleagues and the staff at the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, we will continue reaching out to Members to explain this bill and answer questions. Hopefully we can be ready to move the bill in early May and be one step closer to making life work better for American moms and dads."