Human Resources News & Insights

That other major overtime bill HR needs to watch out for

Employers in the private sector are one step closer to being able to pay workers comp time in lieu of time-and-a-half for overtime hours worked.

The House just passed the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate. The bill would allow employers to offer up to 160 hours of comp time instead of overtime pay. The bill would also require firms to pay – at their regular pay rate – workers for their unused comp time.

Under the bill, employees would have to agree to such an arrangement, and employers can’t force employees to accept the paid time off.

Private employers currently aren’t legally allowed to offer non-exempt employees comp time in lieu of overtime pay, but all that could change if this bill passes.

A win-win or a way to skirt proper payment

Supporters claim the bill is a win-win for employers and employees, allowing employers to save on OT and employees to add more vacation time to improve their work/life balance.

On the benefits of the bill, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said of the bill:

“I don’t think there’s anything more powerful than giving them more control over their time so that they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”

Critics, however, think that’s hogwash. They see the bill as a way for employers to avoid properly compensating employees for working long hours.

For example, Senator Patty Murray said of the bill:

“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.

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  • sickofstupidppl

    Does this bill call for comp time to be given based on time and a half and be paid out at straight time if the employee later changes their mind and decides they want to trade the comp time for pay? Or is it calculated as straight time from the very beginning? An employer offered to give me comp time in lieu of paying me for my overtime hours several years back, but then told me they would only be willing to calculate it as straight time . I then told her that I would not be willing to accept that, not only was it unfair, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t legal…

    • Deb

      it wasn’t legal at the time. But it’s the same time as overtime, in fact better. You get the time off at straight pay, but you’ve already been paid for the time you’ve worked. So, that’s double time.