WASHINGTON, D.C. | April 26, 2017
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), today approved H.R. 1180, the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017. Introduced by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), the legislation would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow private-sector employers to offer workers the choice of paid time off in lieu of cash wages for overtime hours worked. The bill passed by a vote of 22 to 16.
“Outdated federal rules that demand rigid work schedules are making it more difficult for workers to find the flexibility they need. That’s why we need the Working Families Flexibility Act,” Chairwoman Foxx said. “By providing private-sector employees the choice of paid time off for overtime hours worked, we can empower more hardworking Americans to do what’s best for themselves and their families. All we are doing is giving workers an option, and it’s the same option public-sector workers have received for decades. The bill includes strong protections to ensure employees have a real choice in the matter — even stronger than those that currently exist in the public sector. I applaud Representative Roby’s efforts to empower families and modernize federal workplace policies to better meet the needs of today’s workforce.”
“This bill is about empowering workers and families with the flexibility they need to balance work and their personal responsibilities,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. “Workers deserve a choice between paid time off and cash wages for overtime hours worked. Public-sector workers have long enjoyed this freedom, and it’s about time we extend this option to those in the private sector. Contrary to misleading rhetoric spread by powerful special interests, this bill includes robust worker protections to ensure the decision to choose comp time is completely voluntary. This is a commonsense proposal that should earn the support of both parties. I thank Representative Roby for championing a responsible proposal that will make a positive difference in the lives of many Americans.”
BACKGROUND: The American workforce has transformed dramatically over the years and the needs of workers in the 21st century have changed as well. Americans are demanding more flexibility in the workplace. In fact, 85 percent of employees say workplace flexibility is important when considering a new job. Unfortunately, an outdated federal law has become a barrier to workers who want more freedom to balance work and personal obligations.
To modernize the law and better meet the needs of the 21st century workforce, Rep. Roby introduced the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180). This pro-family, pro-worker proposal includes reforms to:
- Allow employers to offer employees a choice between cash wages and accruing comp time for overtime hours worked. No employee can be forced to take comp time.
- Protect employees by requiring the employer and the employee to complete a written agreement to use comp time, entered into knowingly and voluntarily by the employee.
- Retain all existing employee protections in current law, including the 40-hour workweek and how overtime compensation is accrued.
- Allow employees to accrue up to 160 hours of comp time each year. An employer would be required to pay cash wages for any unused time at the end of the year. Workers are free to ‘cash out’ their accrued comp time whenever they choose to do so.
- Prohibit employers from intimidating, coercing, or forcing employees to accept comp time instead of cash wages. Those in violation of the law would be liable to the employees for double damages.
- Require the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to report to Congress on the extent private-sector employers and employees are using comp time, as well as the number of complaints filed with and enforcement actions taken by the U.S. Department of Labor.
To read a fact sheet on the bill, click here.
For information on the bill’s worker protections, click here.
For a myth vs. fact sheet, click here.
To read the bill, click here.
Opening statements, amendments, and other markup materials will be available here.
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