Monster Thinking

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May 2013

5 for Friday: Overtime Pay Edition

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1406, the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013.” Among other things, the bill allows employees and employers in the private sector to agree to comp time instead of overtime compensation for any hours worked, over 40, in a given week. Opinions on this issue before and since are largely split by political party. Here is the bill itself and then some varying viewpoints to consider.
  • H.R. 1406: Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013. “Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207) is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘(s) Compensatory Time Off for Private Employees- ‘(1) GENERAL RULE- An employee may receive, in accordance with this subsection and in lieu of monetary overtime compensation, compensatory time off at a rate not less than one and one-half hours for each hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required by this section.”
  • The Family Unfriendly Act. The New York Times: “For employees who won’t work overtime without extra compensation, the likely result would be fewer hours and overall less pay. For those who will, the likely result would be greater unpredictability in scheduling, which only creates more work stress, as well as higher costs for work related expenses like child care, but with no additional money to meet those expenses.”
  • Working Families Flexibility Act: Why Are Democrats Opposing More Comp Time? Policymic: “Yet this particular legislation applies only to private-sector workers. Public-sector employees already have the right to choose time off instead of overtime pay. It is true that at times, it has been difficult for employees to get time off on the dates that they request. Regulations have evolved over the years through judicial decisions in which different circuit courts reached different conclusions…Rules on that matter will remain variable until Congress changes the law or the Supreme Court makes its own ruling. In the meantime, the fact remains that Democrats are willing to allow government employees a degree of flexibility that they refuse to grant workers in the private sector.”
  • The Working Families Flexibility Act. Win? Hot Air: “The short version of what the bill does (full text here) is to make it legal for private employers to offer workers the option of putting in extra hours and, rather than getting paid for it that week, bank the hours to take paid time off later – providing it doesn’t cause undue stress to the work schedule – without having to use up their vacation days. Currently companies are mostly prohibited from offering this option because of provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.”
  • The GOP’s sham support for working families. Politico: “In reality, they dusted off a decades-old bill that that, despite its name, makes it more difficult for working parents to take time to care for their children. The ads lambaste Democrats for not supporting their proposal, which empowers employers to pay their employees less.”
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