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A future of flexibility for private employees?

Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Working Families Flexibility Act. Sponsored by U.S. Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama's 2nd District, H.R. 1180 would give private employees the choice between of receiving cash wages for overtime work or accruing comp time in lieu of that pay.

Other specifics of the bill include:

  • Employers would be prohibited from forcing employees through intimidation or coercion to accept comp time instead of wages
  • Employers and employees would be required to complete a written agreement to use comp time.
  • All employee protections would remain in place, specifically the 40-hour workweek and accrual of overtime compensation.
  • Accrued comp time for employees will be capped at 160 hours with employers required to pay cash wages for unused time at the end of the year.
  • Workers will have the option of "cashing out" their comp time at their request
  • The Government Accountability Office would be required to report to Congress on employee's use of comp time and any complaints filed or enforcement actions taken by the U.S. Department of Labor

Supporters see it as an opportunity to offer the private employees what public employees enjoy: freedom and control to spend time as they chose and do what is best for themselves and their families. Opponents see the bill as a means to avoid paying overtime wages to their employees.

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