April 28, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – House Republicans are quietly advancing a bill called the Working Families Flexibility Act that would end the federal requirement of time-and-a-half pay for overtime and let private-sector employers offer comp time off instead.
Workers “deserve to choose the best option that meets their personal needs,” Rep. D(R-Ala.), chair of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, said during a hearing Apr. 5. That “flexibility” “is a complete and total fraud,” says Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute. The bill, he explains, gives employers “the right to not pay overtime in the week that it’s worked.” Employers could deny a worker’s request to take comp time if they say it would “unduly disrupt” business on that date, and if they don’t keep accurate records, it would be hard for workers to prove they had time off due. “People have enough trouble with wage theft now,” Eisenbrey says. “This is just one additional way to make it possible for employers to cheat workers.” The House passed a similar measure in 2013. While the Senate’s Democratic minority would probably filibuster it, says AFL-CIO government affairs director Bill Samuel, “we have to take it seriously.” Read more