By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday Congresswoman Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery refuted claims that her Working Families Flexibility Act was an attempt to end decades old federal overtime legislation.
Representative Roby said, “I’m afraid some misinformation is circulating about a bill I sponsored that passed the House in May- the Working Families Flexibility Act. Several people have heard false claims that the bill somehow threatens workers’ overtime, and that’s not true.” Rep. Roby continued, “Simply put, my bill offers employees the option of accruing comp time, or paid time and a half off work if they want it. To some people, paid time off is more valuable than overtime pay.
Think about working moms and dads, those with aging parents, or a military parent with a spouse deployed. Under this bill, they could arrange to use the “time and a half” overtime they earn as actual paid “time and a half” off work instead of cash, if that’s what they’d rather have.” Rep. Roby explained, “No worker could ever be forced to take paid time off, just like no business owner would be forced to offer it. This bill does not change the 40-hour work week or how overtime pay is calculated. The same protections that have been a pa…rt of labor law for decades remain, and my bill actually strengthens protections for workers. Also, where the employee is represented by a union, my bill requires any comp time arrangement to be agreed to by the union in the collective bargaining agreement.” Rep. Roby stated, “I am often asked, “why isn’t this already legal?” That’s a good question. Comp time is a benefit frequently offered and used in the public sector, thanks to a 1985 revision of the Fair Labor Standards Act allowing for it. So if it’s allowed for government employees, why not for everybody else?” 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.
Critics have suggested that employers would put pressure on workers to accept a flexibility arrangement rather than have to pay that worker overtime for anything beyond eight hours in a day or forty hours in a week.
To learn more about the Working Families Flexibility Act online visit: http://edworkforce.house.gov/yourtime/