Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Do you work overtime? Here's what you need to know

Do you work overtime? Here's what you need to know

The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 now goes to the Senate but, despite having the White House's support, could face some obstacles there.

According to a release from Representative Kristi Noem, H.R.1180 (Working Families Flexibility Act) gives workers flexibility in choosing between overtime pay and additional time off - "a choice that's hard to offer under existing labor laws", the release stated.

"Working families today value flexibility and options when it comes to their work schedule", said Latta. They also say the program will cause employers to offer overtime hours to employees who agree to accept comp time first, denying extra pay to those who need it most.

Q: If an employer decides to offer comp time, can employees still opt for overtime pay?

However, putting aside various nuances and state law differences, it has always been the case that the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") requires private sector employers to pay non-exempt employees time-and-a-half for all work performed beyond 40 hours in a workweek.

An employee who has accrued "comp time" must be allowed to use such time within a reasonable period after requesting to do so, provided the time off does not "unduly disrupt the operations of the employer".

The real-world glitch is that the power to grant the comp time rests with the employer.

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Democrats and worker advocates, however, say it merely amounts to an interest-free loan for employers and includes no guarantee that employees can take time off when they want.

The public sector already has this option available and Republicans say that private business should as well.

But Democrats stand in strong opposition. The measure would let employers offer workers paid time off instead of time-and-a-half pay when they put in overtime.

"This is nothing but a recycled bad bill that would allow big corporations to make an end-run around giving workers the pay they've earned", Murray said in a statement. But most policy advances have been at the state and local levels, and the private sector progress, while impressive, still leaves tens of millions of workers behind.

The House passed a bill on May 2 that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and change the private sector "comp time" rules.

The White House said on Friday it expects the Senate to retain the "principles" of the healthcare bill approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday even as it makes some changes. The bill's chances of passing the Senate appear uncertain at best: It will need to garner votes from at least 8 Democrats as well as all 52 Republican senators in order to avoid a filibuster and make it to the desk of President Trump, who's indicated he will sign it.

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