A bill working its way through Congress seeks to allow private employers the right to offer employees the choice of overtime pay or time off for working extra hours.
Currently, only public sector employers enjoy this right.
Called the Working Families Flexibility Act ( H.R. 1180), the Bill would alter the Fair Labor Standards Act that currently prohibits private employers from offering comp time.
Under the new Act, paid time off would accrue at a rate of one and one-half hours for every hour of overtime worked. It would permit employees to accrue up to 160 hours of comp time per year. Employers would reserve the right to convert the comp time to cash after 80 hours so long as the employee was notified 30 days in advance of that action. In addition, employers would need to provide monetary compensation to any employee with unused comp time from the year before that had not been used by December 31.
Employees would, at any time, be able to request cash compensation for any accrued overtime as well.
The bill’s proponents argue that the Act would provide employers a valuable benefit – the ability to offer workplace flexibility – vitally important to employee recruitment and retention.
Opponents of the bill claim that employees might feel coerced into taking comp time rather than compensation so as to please their employers and that the Act would give employers too much power as to when comp time can be utilized.
Leonard Court, an attorney with Crowe & Dunlevy in Oklahoma City speaking on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, defended the act, saying, “the decision to opt for comp time always rests with the employee, not the employer. The bill explicitly prohibits employers from trying to intimidate, threaten or coerce any employee regarding their rights to choose or not to choose to take the comp time option or their right to use banked comp time.”
If you’re an employer and have questions about overtime rules or other employment law matters, consider calling on the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale in Connecticut. We do one thing and one thing only – we are an employer defense law firm – in fact, we are one of the largest employer defense law firms in the region. What’s more, each of our attorneys has over 20 years of experience in employment law and labor law matters and can provide your business with comprehensive legal counsel ranging from assistance with necessary preventive measures to trial advocacy. Please contact us if we can help you.
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