A newly proposed bill would change the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime mandate to allow workers to trade overtime pay for compensatory time off.
Introduced by Martha Roby, a Republican from Alabama, the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 would:
- Cap the amount of paid time off that workers can accrue each year at 160 hours.
- Require employers to pay out annually any unused comp time.
- Give employers 30 days to pay out any unused comp time beyond 80 hours.
- Require employers to pay out any unused comp time accrued upon termination for any reason.
Under current FLSA rules, employers must pay nonexempt workers overtime at a rate of 1.5 times their wage for every hour worked beyond in a 40-hour week.
The bill, if passed, would allow nonexempt workers to earn compensatory time off at a rate of no less than 1.5 times every hour for which they would have otherwise earned overtime pay.
This bill is a novel approach that gives both employers and employees an option of more time off every year, which in turn can help staff better achieve a work-life balance that the standard arrangement of two weeks’ vacation every year may not provide.
Some workers may prefer more time off over additional funds and would be happy to take a longer vacation instead of more money.
The legislation would allow employees to choose which option they would prefer, and the employer must honor their choice.
By virtue of the fact that the legislation was floated by a Republican and that the Trump administration has expressed an interest in laws that would give employees time off, such as after the birth of a baby, there is a chance the bill can advance in the House.