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House approves comp time instead of OT pay

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in Human Resources,Overtime Labor Laws

The House of Representatives on May 2 voted to allow most employers to offer compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay when nonexempt employees work more than 40 hours in a week. The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 would not require comp time, but would make the option available for both employers and employees.

Under the legislation, employees of organizations choosing to offer comp time would have a choice: either voluntarily bank one-and-a-half hours of unpaid leave or take the usual time-and-a-half overtime pay.

Read the text of H.B. 1180, which would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act, at www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1180.

The bill now moves on to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to schedule action. When similar legislation circulated in 2013, McConnell voiced his support.

Public employers have been able to offer comp time since 1985.

Supporters of the legislation say it would give hourly workers more flexibility to handle work and family responsibilities, as exempt employees can. Detractors fear employers will coerce workers into accepting comp time instead of overtime pay.

The bill seeks to address that concern by allowing employees to cash out banked comp time. Employers would have 30 days following an employee’s request to pay out the value of banked leave.

Employers would have to carry the value of accrued comp time on their ledgers.

The bill would let employees bank up to 160 hours of comp time. However, employers would be allowed to require employees to accept overtime pay after they have accumulated 80 hours of comp time. Employees could carry over a previous year’s comp time until Jan. 31. After then, employers would pay out the value of the leave.

Language in the legislation bans employers from “intimidating, threatening, or coercing or attempting to intimidate, threaten, or coerce an employee” to accept comp time instead of overtime pay.

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