GOP Passes Bill Threatening Overtime Pay – Ironically Calls it ‘Working Families Flexibility Act’
Employers can Offer Paid Time Off Instead
Imagine accruing loads of cash in overtime, only to be told that you can take time off and get paid for it instead. You arrange for the time off, based on when your employer approved it and you make plans. Your employer, however, rescinds the offer of PTO and has decided to pay you the cash instead. But you have to wait 30 days. It gets confusing. If passed, a dastardly bill with a fluffy little moniker will be able to do just that. The bill got Congressional approval today. The Working Families Flexibility Act passed the House of Representatives with just 6 Republicans voting against it. Supporters say the bill would allow employers to trade out overtime for paid time off, benefiting families who would rather have the vacation days. Those who oppose the measure say it’ll bilk hardworking Americans out of overtime pay. Not surprisingly, The White House is a fan.
[The bill] would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow private-sector employers to give their employees the choice to receive paid time off instead of cash payments for each hour of time for which overtime compensation would otherwise be required.
Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.) who sponsored the bill, says it’s about giving families choices. Her statement to WSFA TV in Alabama underscored that GOP family messaging.
It’s voluntary. This is not another government mandate, not more red tape applied to businesses by the government. It’s completely voluntary and guess who’s in the driver’s seat? The employee. It’s up to the employee to determine whether or not they want their overtime pay or they want to accrue their overtime to use later as paid leave. This is about moms and dads that want to coach a soccer game, or have responsibilities to take care of an aging parent, and want to be able to make the same decision that government employees already can
She’s partially right. Even though the bill prohibits employers from forcing employees to take comp time, critics argue it also gives employers the power to take back comp time offers. Employers can take back banked time from an employee and pay them the overtime instead–and take a full month to pay the overage. Plus supervisors, not employees, decide when the comp time can be used.
Senator Elizabeth Warren took to Twitter to lambast the bill, blaming GOP lawmakers for weakening worker’s rights -calling it an opportunity for employers to swindle their workers.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) May 2, 2017
If this bill passes, and it seems likely it will, it’ll be one in the win column for Republicans. For years GOP loyalists in Congress have been trying to roll back overtime pay regulations. In 2013 a similar bill passed the house but died in the Senate.
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)