By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery announced in a written statement that Congressional Hearings had revealed practical benefits from implementing her Working Family Flexibility Act in the private sector.
U.S. Representative Martha Roby’s Working Families Flexibility Act would allow private-sector workers to arrange with their employer to receive paid time off, or “comp time,” for overtime hours worked if they so chose. The “comp time” option has been both legal and commonly used in the public sector since 1985, however it remains restricted by federal law for private businesses and their employees.
Karen DeLoach, a bookkeeper at a Montgomery, Alabama accounting firm, testified, “I have friends who work for the state and I knew they talked about comp time.” DeLoach described how she approached her boss seeking “comp time” so she could participate in her church’s mission work, only to learn that federal law forbid such an arrangement from being made. “I thought it would be nice to do something like that, having no idea it would be illegal.” “Right now, committee members, you have the ability to empower families across the nation with the freedom of choice. You could afford me the freedom to choose to use my overtime as leave time, while my coworker can still choose overtime pay.”
Roby said that ensuring such parity between the public and private sectors is only fair. Congress could offer working Americans more flexibility and more time to take care of family responsibilities, if that’s what they want by passing Roby’s bill.
Congresswoman Roby said, “Talk to just about any working mom and dad and they’ll tell you they need more time. They need one more hour in the day to be able to take care of responsibilities outside of work. We can’t legislate another hour in the day. But, we can help working people better balance the demands of family and work by removing an unnecessary federal restriction on utilizing comp time in the private sector.”
Juanita Phillips, a Human Resources Manager at Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation in Huntsville, Alabama, and Andy Brantley, the President and CEO of the College and University Professional Association of Human Resources also testified. Both testified about their personal experiences with how comp time plans commonly utilized by government workers could benefit employees in the private sector as well.
Congresswoman Roby’s The Working Families Flexibility Act: Allows employers to offer employees a choice between cash wages and comp time for overtime hours worked. Employees who choose to receive cash wages would be able to continue to do so. The employer and the employee would have to complete a written agreement to use comp time. The agreement would be entered into knowingly and voluntarily by the employee. This protects all existing employee protections in current law, including the 40 hour work week and how overtime compensation is accrued. Employers would be required to pay cash wages for any unused time at the end of the year. Workers could ‘cash out’ their accrued comp time whenever they choose to do so.
Congresswoman Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District.