Every working American wishes their paycheck was bigger. But for working parents, sometimes time is more valuable than money. Sometimes being there for that doctor’s appointment, baseball game, or parent-teacher’s conference is worth more than time and a half.
 
And since 1978, hourly-paid government employees have been allowed to choose between taking overtime pay and comp time. If they worked more than 40 hours one week, they could take a bigger paycheck home that week, or bank that time and use it for family priorities when it was needed.
 
But if you work on an hourly basis in the private sector, this practice is illegal. Employers are not allowed to come to an agreement with their employees about how their overtime is used.
 
This double standard needs to end which is why I am so pleased Rep. Martha Roby’s (R-AL) “Working Families Flexibility Act” passed the House of Representatives earlier this week.
 
Roby’s bill, and a companion bill I introduced in the Senate, allows employers to offer their employees the option of taking comp time or overtime pay, both accrued at one and a half times the overtime hours worked.
 
Employers would not be able to force comp time on their employees and employees would not be able to take comp time whenever they wanted. Instead, the legislation requires employers and employees to come to a written agreement on how and when accrued overtime can be exchanged for comp time. 
 
If an employee does not want a comp time option, then they do not have to sign an agreement with their employer allowing them to do so.
 
If an employee wants to cash out all of their accrued time at the traditional overtime rate, they can do so at any time.
 
If an employee has any unused comp time at the end of the year, employers must cash that time out at the traditional overtime rate.
 
Some on the left have made some hysterical claims about the bill, asserting that it “ends the 40-hour work week” or “ends time and a half pay for overtime.” As the protections mentioned above make clear, nothing could be further from the truth. The bill maintains all existing employee protections, including the current 40-hour workweek and overtime accrual, and provides additional safeguards to ensure that the choice to use comp time is voluntary.
 
What the bill does do is offer millions of working American families the same flexibility that public sector employees have enjoyed for almost 40 years.
 
I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on moving this bill through the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on to the Senate floor, and then to President Trump’s desk.