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Public Statements

Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GIBSON. I thank the chairman. And I thank the gentlelady from Alabama (Mrs. Roby) for bringing the bill.

I have an amendment, but I first want to say that I support the underlying bill.

I take a look at the fact that almost 30 years ago, right here in these halls, in bipartisan work, Democrats and Republicans worked together here, led by the Democratically controlled Congress, and worked with the President--then President Reagan--to provide comp time for State and local workers. What we're doing today is taking that same concept and extending it out to the private sector.

I reflect on my constituents. I think about the busy lives that all our workers have, and I think about how challenging it is to bring balance to those lives. I think this is an important concept to bring forward, to think about those who are pursuing higher education, mothers and fathers that are looking to bring balance to the workplace, but also to raising their children, and how important that is for our families, for individuals, and for our country. So I think it's important that we extend this concept to the private sector.

Now, I have friends who have concerns, and we've heard some of the concerns here today. I have reflected very extensively on those. I will tell you that what I see in this bill--and the chairman actually, I think, summed it up very well just moments ago--is, first and foremost, that this is a choice for the worker on whether or not they want to join this program. I recognize that there are arguments that are concerning on that score. But also, if the worker decides to enter the comp time program and decides to take comp time and then something unexpected happens where they choose to change their mind, there are provisions in this bill where the individual can notify their employer, and within 30 days the business needs to pay the employee.

So as I reflect on the wording in this bill, I think there is a balance. But I also recognize that there are still concerns out there, and I want those voices to be heard. So this is the purpose of my amendment. I think we should hear from our government, hear from the GAO to talk about the implementation on how well it's going. This amendment says that after 2 years of implementation of this law, that the GAO would report out to us on how well that's going, and also provide us data if there are abuses and what's being done about those abuses.

So I see this as yet another protection to ensure that as we look to extend this concept from the State and local governments, that we have protections in there to ensure that our workers are having justice.

So I ask my colleagues to support this amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.


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