Representative Lee Terry (R-NE) today voted in favor of the H.R. 1406, The Working Families Flexibility Act, which would allow for employers to offer employees compensatory time off in lieu of paid overtime.
"As working parents, one thing my wife and I need is more time," said Rep. Terry. "This common sense legislation removes unnecessary federal restrictions on comp time in the private sector and lets workers choose if they want to save comp time for more important things like a sick child, a doctor's appointment or school-related activities."
Currently, federal, state and local employees have the option to have comp time in lieu of overtime pay but private sector employers do not have the option of extending this benefit to their employees. The Working Families Flexibility Act gives the same option to the private sector.
Under H.R. 1406, no worker could be forced to take paid time off, just like no business owner would be forced to offer it. The bill retains all existing worker protections in current law, including the 40-hour workweek and how overtime compensation is accrued. The bill includes additional safeguards for workers to ensure the choice and use of comp time is truly voluntary, including:
·A requirement for a written agreement between the employer and the employee from which the employee can withdraw at any time;
·A "cash out" provision entitling an employee to receive any accrued comp time back in cash within 30 days;
·A provision requiring employers found to have coerced an employee to pay "double damages," or the amount of comp time owed the employee and an equal amount in monetary damages.
The Working Families Flexibility Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 223-204.