Press Releases

Press Releases

Issa Votes To Provide More Flexibility to Working Families

Press Release
May 2, 2017
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released the following statement after the House of Representatives approved the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017. The bill gives workers additional flexibility to help better balance family and workplace needs by allowing private-sector employers to offer their employees the choice between cash or paid-time-off for overtime hours - a benefit permitted under the Fair Labor Standards Act for government employers, but prohibited for private-sector employers.
 
“Working parents – especially those with young children – know that time is a most precious resource. We can’t legislate another hour into the day, but we can give working families options to help balance the needs of work and family. This common-sense bill is good for families and employers. Business owners know that flexibility helps build a happier and more productive workforce.” - Congressman Darrell Issa.
 
BACKGROUND:
 
Since 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act has mandated all private-sector overtime wages be payable in cash. In 1985, Congress enacted a revision to the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows public-sector employers the opportunity to offer paid-time-off for overtime but left similar arrangements off-limits to private sector employees. The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 would update the Fair Labor Standards Act to give private-sector employers flexibility to offer employees the option to choose whether they'd like to earn extra cash or additional paid-time-off for overtime hours. 
 
Among its provisions, the bill would:
  • Allow employers to offer employees a choice between cash wages and comp time for overtime hours worked. Employees who want to receive cash wages would continue to do so. No employee can be forced to take comp time instead of receiving cash wages.
  • Protect employees by requiring employers who decide to offer this option to their employees by requiring them to establish a written agreement with the employee outlining the options and to allow each employee to voluntarily choose the option that best fits his needs.
  • Retains all existing employee protections in current law, including the 40-hour work week and how overtime compensation is accrued. The bill adds additional safeguards for workers to ensure the choice and use of comp time are truly voluntary.
  • Allows employees to accrue up to 160 hours of comp time each year. An employer would be required to pay cash wages at the overtime rate of time-and-a-half 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 entitle employees to double the amount of the wages owed.
  • 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. 

Additional information on the bill is available here.
 
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