WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406), a bill proposed by U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) to offer private sector workers the same “comp time” options public sector workers enjoy, is before the full House Committee on Education and the Workforce today for a markup.
A markup is a congressional committee meeting in which legislation is debated, amended and eventually acted upon. The markup will begin at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building. A live webcast of the meeting is available online at http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=328678.
Rep. Roby’s Working Families Flexibility Act has built significant momentum since being introduced last week, gaining 141 co-sponsorships from other Members of Congress. The legislation has also gained support from several key industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Society for Human Resource Management.
THE WORKING FAMILIES FLEXIBILITY ACT OF 2013:
• Removes an outdated and unnecessary federal restriction on private sector employers offering workers paid time off, or comp time, in lieu of cash wages for overtime;
• Offers working Americans in the private sector what their peers in the public sector already enjoy – more freedom and more control over their time so they can spend it the way they chose.
• Retains all existing employee 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.
• Since 1938 the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) has dictated much about how the workplace operates, including how wages are paid. That law mandates that all overtime be paid in cash wages.
• In 1985 Congress enacted a revision to the FSLA that allowed public sector employers to offer paid time off work, or comp time, for accrued overtime. Yet, offering this flexible benefit remains illegal in the private sector.
• For several years Republicans have sought to offer private sector employers and employees the same freedom to utilize comp time that the public sector enjoys. This year’s renewed effort is being led by Rep. Martha Roby, a working mom who is highlighting the bill as an opportunity to help working Americans better balance an increasing load of family responsibilities.
• The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 gives employers the option of offering their employees the choice of paid time off in lieu of cash wages for overtime hours worked. There would have to be a written agreement between the employer and the employee, entered into knowingly and voluntarily by the employee.
• No worker could ever be forced to take paid time off, just like no business would be forced to offer it.
• Where the employee is represented by a union, the agreement to take comp time must be part of the collective bargaining agreement negotiated between the union and the employer.
• The legislation does not affect the 40-hour workweek or change the way that overtime is calculated.
• As with cash overtime pay, comp time accrues at a “time and a half” rate: One hour of overtime worked equals one hour and a half of comp time.
• Employees could accrue up to 160 hours of comp time each year. An employer would be required to pay cash wages for any unused, accrued time at the end of the year.