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Public Statements

Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, I now yield to 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro), a champion for working families and my neighbor.

Ms. DeLAURO. I rise in strong opposition to the bill before us. It aims to end overtime pay, bring to an end the 40-hour workweek. This is another attempt by the House majority to accelerate a race to the bottom, strip workers of basic rights and protections, and undermine the foundations of the American middle class.

The Working Families Flexibility Act does exactly the opposite of what it describes. There is no flexibility. The legislation guts the 75-year-old statute guaranteeing overtime pay for work over a 40-hour workweek, overtime pay that those single moms need. Hardworking American families, they rely on it. It allows employers, if they so choose, to provide comp time for all of this extra work, except there are no guarantees that workers can take the time when they need it, and there are no avenues for workers to file grievances if employers do not comply. This bill forces employees to work extra hours without overtime pay and get nothing in return.

Yes, we need serious economic solutions to the problems that families are facing. Wages have stagnated for decades. Forty percent of Americans make less today than what the minimum wage was worth in 1968. And in America today, unlike in every other competitive economy in the world, 42 million workers cannot take off time when they are sick, when they need to care for a sick child or an ailing relative.

We need legislation that provides employees with paid time off if they need it. The Healthy Families Act would allow workers up to seven job-protected paid sick days for each year. It builds on and reflects pro-family policies that have been passed in Connecticut; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; Washington, D.C. This majority has said ``no'' to an airing of this legislation. They want to eliminate worker protections and further undermine workers' paychecks and benefits.

And America's families, they sent us here to represent their interests and address their needs, not to further erode their economic instability. Vote against this bill. Support paid leave, minimum wage, and pay equity if you want to help Americans families.

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