WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a bold statement on how applying conservative principles can help working Americans in their everyday lives, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1406), a bill sponsored by U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) to help Americans better balance the demands of work and family.
“I am proud to champion the Working Families Flexibility Act on behalf of working moms and dads across the country,” said Rep. Roby. “Our message to the American people is this: We want to get Washington out of the way of how you use your time.
“Talk to just about any working mom and dad and they’ll tell you they need more time. They need just one more hour in the day to be able to take care of responsibilities and make life work. We can’t legislate another hour in the day, but we can help working Americans better balance their time by removing unnecessary federal restrictions on comp time in the private sector.”
A video of Rep. Roby’s floor remarks in support of the bill is available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8BFs90LMCw,
The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 would allow private-sector workers to receive paid time off, or comp time, for overtime hours worked. A working mom or dad could use an hour of overtime he or she earned as paid “time and a half” off work instead of “time and a half” cash, if that’s what they would rather have.
Under this bill, 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 work week and how overtime compensation is accrued. The bill adds additional safeguards for workers to ensure the choice and use of comp time are 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 be in violation of coercion to pay “double damages,” or the amount of comp time owed the employee and an equal amount in monetary damages;
The bill passed by a vote of 223 to 204 and now goes to the Senate. Rep. Roby said she looks forward to engaging with the Senate to build support for the bill.
“I’m eager to reach out to the Senate and start the conversation. I believe we can come together and empower Americans with more freedom and more flexibility with their time.”
Rep. Roby also thanked her House colleagues and the House leadership for their support of the bill.
“I’m grateful for the support I received from my fellow Members of Congress on this bill. I particularly want to thank Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) for their help moving this bill and spreading the word about our efforts to help working families. And none of this would have been possible without Chairman John Kline and his team at the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. I am proud to have sponsored the bill, but this has been a group effort through and through.”
More information on the Working Families Flexibility Act can be found online here: http://edworkforce.house.gov/yourtime/