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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1406, Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, the bill before us today, H.R. 1406, the so-called ``Working Families Flexibility Act'' is a wolf in sheep's clothing. This bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 in order to allow private sector employers to compensate their employees with compensatory time or comp time, instead of earned overtime pay. This proposal subverts the power and purpose of the Fair Labor Standards Act by making private sector workplaces less fair and certainly less flexible.

Instead of ensuring fairness and flexibility for employees, H.R. 1406 gives employers the legal cover for forcing employees to work more and then, in turn, paying them less. This bill does nothing to assist working families; rather it is an assault on the wages of working families all across the country. What would improve the lives of working families is a proposal to increase the minimum wage, such as introduced by Ranking Member MILLER and cosponsored by me and 134 members of this House. H.R. 1010 would increase the minimum wage in three tiered steps and then index future increases to inflation. Such a proposal would actually provide more flexibility by putting more money in the pockets of working families today and in the future. However, instead of considering a proposal which would directly benefit American workers, this Committee is considering a misleadingly named bill which does just the opposite.

Flexibility in the workplace is something that the government welcomes. However, H.R. 1406 is not the way to achieve that goal. Flexible workplaces do not force employees to choose between working more and earning less. Instead, flexible workplaces provide adequate leave options under the Family Medical Leave Act. Flexible workplaces provide a competitive, living wage for employees regardless of their gender. Flexible workplaces provide sufficient paid sick leave. H.R. 1406 does nothing to advance any of these proposals and most of all does nothing to foster a flexible work environment.

H.R. 1406 is nothing more than a message moment for the majority party. The bill weakens the worker protections under which we have lived comfortably for 75 years. This bill provides less flexibility, not more. Even if this deeply flawed bill passes this House, it will not be considered by the Senate nor will it become law. It is a diversion from the real issues that this Committee was tasked with tackling: creating jobs and fostering economic growth.


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