Bill Would End the Unfair Discrimination Against Private-Sector Employees
Jan 22 2015
WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill to help workers handle the constant challenge of work-life balance by allowing all individuals who work overtime to choose between monetary compensation or comp-time. The “Working Family Flexibility Act” would free workers to choose the best way to alleviate the difficulties of juggling work, home, kids, and community. Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama has introduced a companion bill in the House.
“For many families, especially with young children, their most precious commodity is time,” said Sen. Lee. “But today, federal labor laws restrict the way moms and dads and everyone else can use their time. For decades, Congress has given a special exemption from these laws to government employees. This is unacceptable. The same work-life options available to government employees should be available to private-sector workers, as well.”
“The Working Families Flexibility Act will help provide America’s workers with the flexible work arrangements they’ve told us they need. Countless Americans have become increasingly familiar with the same challenging reality: more and more to do, with less and less time to do it. And while Congress can’t legislate another hour in the day, we can help working Americans better balance the demands of work and family,” Senator McConnell said. “I appreciate the opportunity to join Senator Lee in pushing this commonsense proposal to provide private sector workers with compensatory time, which has been a priority of mine throughout my career, and I thank him for his continued work to promote measures important to working families.”
“I appreciate Senator McConnell’s leadership on this issue,” Lee added. “He has been a strong advocate for middle-class families and reforms to improve the work-life balance for America’s moms and dads.”
The Senate version has 22 additional cosponsors, including Sens. Ayotte, Blunt, Cornyn, Murkowski, Vitter, Rubio, Burr, Barrasso, Isakson, Alexander, Crapo, Scott, Thune, Cruz, Wicker, Fischer, Risch, Daines, Capito, Toomey, Flake and Rounds.
How It Works
- Gives private-sector employers the ability to offer their employees the option of comp time or overtime pay, both accrued at 1½ times the overtime hours worked. Federal, State & local governments are currently allowed to offer comp time to their employees, but private-sector employers are banned from doing so by federal law.
- Requires employers who decide to offer this option to their employees 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.
- Requires that comp time agreements be included in the collective bargaining agreement negotiated between the union and the employer for any employee represented by a union.
- Allows employees who choose to accrue comp time to accrue up to 160 hours each year.
- Allows employees to “cash out” their accrued comp time at the traditional overtime pay rate at any time throughout the year.
- 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.
- Requires employers to pay employees at the traditional overtime rate for any unused comp time at the end of each calendar year.
What It Does
- Ends the unfair discrimination against private-sector employees
- Enables parents to better balance work and family obligations
- Frees all workers to choose which commodity – time or money – is the more important resource at a given time
- Lessens the burden of unnecessary federal regulation