To help Americans balance the needs of family and work, Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) introduced the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1406). This commonsense legislation would allow private-sector workers to choose paid time off or ‘comp time’ instead of cash wages as compensation for working overtime hours. Public-sector employees have enjoyed this benefit for almost 30 years; it’s time private-sector workers had the same opportunity. The Working Families Flexibility Act includes numerous protections to ensure workers can choose whichever overtime compensation they prefer.
The decision to receive comp time is completely voluntary. An employee who prefers to receive cash payment for overtime hours worked is always free to do so.
Workers can withdraw from a comp time agreement whenever they choose. An employee who changes his or her mind will receive cash wages for accrued comp time within 30 days.
All existing protections in the Fair Labor Standards Act are maintained, including the 40-hour work week and how overtime compensation is accrued.
It is up to the employee to decide when to use his or her comp time, as long as he or she provides reasonable notice and the requested time off does not unduly disrupt the business – the same standard used for public-sector workers.
An employee can cash out his or her unused comp time for any reason and at any time. Employers are required to provide cash wages within 30 days of receiving an employee request.
No worker can be intimidated, coerced, or forced to accept comp time instead of cash wages. Employers who coerce employees into choosing comp time would be liable to the employees for double damages.
All existing enforcement remedies – including action by the U.S. Department of Labor – are available to workers if an employer fails to pay cash wages for overtime hours or unreasonably refuses to allow workers to use accrued comp time.
An employer can only cash out an individual’s accrued comp time in excess of 80 hours, protecting an employee’s ability to use a significant portion of the paid time off he or she has earned.
Employers must provide employees 30 days’ notice of a decision to discontinue offering comp time, providing workers and their families an opportunity to adjust to this change in the workplace.