The House has passed H.R. 1406, the Working Families Flexibility Act, legislation that would allow greater flexibility for private sector employees who fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Currently, when those employees work overtime, their only option is to take paid time and a half -- under the FLSA. However, local, state, and federal employees can choose comp time in place of overtime pay. This gives them more flexibility to meet family obligations. H.R. 1406 will alter the FLSA to allow private sector employees this same flexibility given to government employees.
"When I worked at Delta in Atlanta, my job was one of those that fell under an exception to the Fair Labor Standards Act, so I was able to take comp time in place of overtime pay," stated Westmoreland. "That's why I'm a cosponsor of the Working Families Flexibility Act and why I voted for it. As a husband and young father, having that additional flexibility was so valuable when I needed to be there for my kids or my wife."
Some employers offer comp time now, however under the Fair Labor Standards Act employees are forced to use that time within that same pay period. The Working Families Flexibility Act will allow employees to bank their comp time to use within a 12-month time period. If at the end of that 12-month time period the employee has not used their banked comp time, the employer must cash them out at the highest wage they made during that 12-month time period.
"By and large, this legislation will be helping everyday Americans -- folks at the local manufacturing plants and people working hourly jobs -- those people who are the backbone of our nation's economy," stated Westmoreland. "Why don't these people deserve the same flexibility as government employees? It's their overtime -- they should be able to use it however they want."
The Working Families Flexibility Act will now head to the Senate. Unfortunately, labor unions are lobbying hard against this legislation, so it is unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will bring it to the Senate floor for a vote.