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House bill would offer employees comp time instead of OT pay

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in Human Resources,Overtime Labor Laws

Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow nonexempt employees to choose compensatory time off instead of overtime pay. Crafted as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406) would let private-sector employees take an hour and a half of paid time off for every hour of overtime worked.

Example: If a nonexempt employee worked 48 hours in a workweek, she would be eligible for either eight hours of overtime pay or 12 hours of paid leave. The employee would get to choose, not the employer. The bill would require employees to agree in writing that they want comp time in lieu of overtime pay.

Employees would be able to earn up to 160 hours of comp time per year, and could cash out unused, accrued comp time at the end of the year.

The legislation would impose length-of-service criteria: Employees would have to put in at least 1,000 hours on a continuous basis for the same employer within 12 months to be eligible to take comp time.

On April 17, the House Committee on Education and the Work-force approved the bill on a straight party-line vote: Republicans in favor, Democrats opposed. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., called the legislation a “misguided attack on the 40-hour workweek.” He voiced fears that employers would coerce employees into accepting comp time instead of overtime pay, in effect granting employers “interest-free loans.”

The bill now goes to the full House, where it is expected to pass. However, it could stall in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Read the bill on the Education & the Workforce Committee's website.

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