Human Resources News & Insights

Working Families Flexibility Act threatens to add paperwork

A bill that’s been introduced in both the House and Senate threatens to add more paperwork to your ever-expanding to-do list.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) recently reintroduced the Working Families Flexibility Act to Congress.

The legislation is designed to promote flexibility in the workplace.

It would give employees the right to request changes in the terms or conditions of their employment.

Specifically, employees would be able to request changes to:

  • the number of hours they are required to work
  • the time of day they are required to work or be on call
  • where they are required to work, and
  • how far in advance they must be notified of schedule assignments.

Here’s where the extra paperwork comes in. If an employee applies for one or more of these changes, an employer will be required to hold a meeting with the employee to discuss his/her application and provide a written decision within a “reasonable period.”

If an employee’s application is rejected, the employer would be required to provide a written explanation why.

To be eligible, an employee will have to have worked at least 20 hours per week or 1,000 hours per year. And employers with fewer than 15 employees would be exempt.

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  • Lynn Margulies

    If I understand this correctly the employer is not required to accept the employees new terms, however, are we sure that would not be the next step. Most employers are already providing reasonable flexibility in their workplace just to remain competitive, the government should concentrate on job creation here in the US and stop dictating to corporate american as to how to operate their businesses, afterall, those in our government have done such a bang up job running the government with a deficit of how large???. By the way, adding to jobs by additional hiring to the federal and state employees does not count because we pay their salaries with our tax dollars…..a tax base that is dwindling due to the lack of jobs in the US…

  • Brenda Thomas

    I operate a company that cares for children. I do not have flexibility in how many employees I have to keep on site to care for a specific number of children. If the government requires me to have a certain number of employees on site, how can they then require me to give them more flexibility? Government at work, unfortunately they don’t work in the real world!

  • JP Prichard

    Yeah, they’ll put teeth to it eventually.

    I can imagine meet and confer going poorly for a labor group, but instead of going on strike, several hundred of them file individual requests – boilerplate letters provided by national groups – and continue to do so until everything grinds to a halt.

    Legislators are evil, and should be destroyed.

  • http://www.peoplesolutionsllc.com Bill Burton, SPHR

    While flexibility in the workplace can work with some employers, it can’t work for all. What’s in it for the business? Any tax breaks for offering flexible scheduling? This seems like “feel good” legislation that will have absolutely no bearing on creating jobs or improving productivity. Employers who can provide flexibility in scheduling are already doing so.

  • Greg Hageness

    They should call this the “One More Step Closer to Greece Act”.

  • Mary Sutherland

    Crazy. That’s all I have to say.

  • http://hrmorning DLGerman

    So this law “gives employees the right to request changes to their schedule”. Don’t employees already have that right? Employers then can either grant the request or not. Do we really need a law to cover this? It seems to me that other than requiring the response to be within a certain time frame, and in writing, this is the way things already work naturally. This is pretty useless.

  • Dee

    This is ridiculous – I can hear it now…
    “We are so sorry Ms. Smith but, we will have to reschedule your roof replacement, AGAIN, because our job foreman Whatsezname is on (FFL) “family Flexibility leave” maybe we can get our top roofer, Mr. Oncall to do it, he is expected to return from his mandated vacation in about 2 weeks, if Oncall has not returned by that time I will try to get the laborer, Mr. Showzupsumtimez to patch it.

  • Common Sense

    Next election, let’s make the world a better place and vote out the doo-gooder, busy-body, freedom killing, buttinskis who like to micro-manage other peoples lives.

  • H2r

    Two-cents: I agree, for once let’s vote out the bible-thumping, homophobic, rightwing, war mongering, weapons advocating, big-brother id-requiring, conservative hypocrites, and finally make the world a better place for us freedom loving liberals. Count me in!

  • MMAN

    @H2r…while agree with a lot of your posts…this for one isn’t one of them. How dare you bring religion into this…it is pathetic? A non-biblical “force down the throat liberalism” is just as bad in my eyes (and many others) as a bible thumper is in yours. By they way, all conservatives are not hypocrites. No doubt you could find fault with all of them but all that amounts to is you trying to bring them down to your level to justify your own stance. All I can say is SHAME ON YOU! Be a professional.

    On another note, many seem to forget that “we the people” voted these people in office and whatever they pass is a reflection of the desires of the majority of the whole or else they wouldn’t be in office- republicans and democrats alike. So stop yer whinin’. This is pitiful.

  • Common Sense

    @H2R Why does everything have to be a partisan hatchet job with you? Why do you always find it necessary to change the subject. I simply addressed the article and stated that we should vote out these type of micro-managers. I made no mention of party or philosophy. For some unexplained reason you felt the need to bring up weapons, war mongering, id’s to vote…and then start bashing conservatives yet again (yawn). Really…really?

    Anyway, good luck with your argument that liberals are stronger advocates of freedom than conservatives. I think any independent rational observer realizes that liberals are generally stronger advocates of bigger government, higher taxes, redistribution of income and laws like the one in this article or even light bulb restrictions. These are all examples of ways freedom is diminished.

    I fully realize some conservatives occasionally do get overly involved in micro-managing others lives, but c’mon, it is really not even a debatable point.

    The bigger the government, the smaller the person. (Dennis Prager)

    P.S. Whatever happened to your promise to belittle me by ignoring me. I was rather enjoying that for about 2 posts. I encourage you to try again.

  • Common Sense

    @MMan Please don’t wrongly imply that I forgot that “We the people” voted these micro-managing politicians into office. I know all too well that is the case. As the matter of fact, that was the very reason why I was expressing my desire that the voters have an epiphany next election and throw these types out of office.

    P.S. To point out the “shame” of H2r as being unprofessional and then to assert I am pitiful whiner for simply expressing my desire to not be micro-managed seems just a little hypocritical.

  • MMAN

    @Common Sense- while I did find your post just a little politically charged, I was mostly referring to H2R’s post. Boy did he ever go on a rant……just so you know.

  • Plant Manager

    Don’t employees already have this right? By making this a distinct law it opens a world of lawsuits and headaches. Can you imagine 100 employees from your 100 employee workforce requesting different hours, workdays, and schedules. The mess this could create is unimaginable.

  • http://hrmorning michael

    Personally I like this, but without any teeth in it what’s the point. I work for a company with several international locations, in those locations the employees get three times the vacations and holidays that we do, they also get flexible time to make work/life a real balance. In this country we have made work the primary activity usually at the sacrifice of family. Any wonder this country leads the world in divorce rates and single parentage. Companies here will talk about work life balance but never fully advocate it, it will take something like this with teeth in it to get companies to wake up and treat employees differently. I am surprised so many HR people here do not understand this, we are the ones who are suppose to be looking out for our employees. I say hurray to anything that puts more emphasis into the work/life balance equation. By the way our international locations work about 30 days less than we do usually at a slightly lower overall compensation and equal our productivity.

  • Cathy

    @H2r you are just too funny!
    Guess you really didn’t read the article, two liberal Democrats introduced the Bill… Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). Shameful Politics… unfortunately your partisan rant has gotten in the way of debating real solutions. How sad.

    @Michael
    While you may agree with this Bill, I have to ask, why do we need a law that forces a “one size fits all” quasi solution when in fact the solution will hurt many other workplace environments? Work/life balance is something that should be of concern for every company yet has become very difficult when considering all of the “well intended” laws that have begun to contradict other “well intended” laws.

    I am very suspect of this Bill – when something this ambiguous is introduced, more teeth are grown in the regulatory phase and in this environment, there’s no doubt it will not be in the favor of the employer. In the end, the “good intentions” of these two in Congress harms everyone concerned. Look at what a mess FMLA has become.

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