By Edwin S. Hopson
On May 8, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1406), a law that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to give employees the opportunity to accrue paid time off or “comp time” for working overtime hours in lieu of receiving overtime pay.
The bill provides as follows:
- Allows employers to offer employees a choice between cash wages and accruing comp time for overtime hours worked during a workweek.
- Protects employees by requiring the employer and the employee to complete a written agreement to use comp time, entered into knowingly and voluntarily by the employee. If the employee is represented by a labor organization, the agreement to take comp time must be negotiated as part of the union contract.
- Retains all existing employee protections in current law, including how overtime pay is calculated.
- Allows employees to accrue up to 160 hours of comp time each year. An employer would be required to pay cash wages for any unused time at the end of the year. Workers would be free to cash out their accrued comp time whenever they choose to do so.
- Requires the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to report to Congress on the extent private-sector employers and employees are using comp time, and the number of complaints filed with and enforcement actions taken by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The measure is expected to face stiff opposition in the Senate.