Tags: overtime | comp | time | GOP | workers

GOP Seeks Alternative to Overtime Pay

Monday, 06 May 2013 06:21 AM

By David Yonkman

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The House will vote this week on a bill that would allow private employers to offer “comp time” to workers instead of overtime pay — the same flexibility allowed for government workers.

Employers in the public sector have offered comp time for nearly 30 years, but private-sector employers can be sued or fined by the Department of Labor for extending the same benefit to their workers, according to GOP Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Opponents of the House bill should be asked whether they would rescind those same benefits for government employees, a House leadership aide told Newsmax.

“The Working Families Flexibility Act provides moms and dads with the same comp-time options Democrats have only allowed government employees to enjoy for three decades,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper said. “Anyone who opposes this legislation should be asked if they also want to repeal these same benefits for government employees.”

The Working Families Flexibility Act would lift the requirement from the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act that requires most private-sector workers to be paid for overtime, rather than accept compensatory, or comp time, that could be used to spend time with their families.

Opponents say employers will pressure workers to take time off, rather than the pay that they’re entitled to. The House Education and the Workforce Committee passed the bill in April, 23 to 14, along party lines.

“This bill has nothing to do with promoting workplace flexibility,” Democratic Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut said in a statement.

“It is about not paying overtime,” Courtney said. “It is about saying to hourly workers already struggling to make ends meet — if you need time off to care for a sick child or attend a school concert, you need to work extra hours, forgo the earned overtime pay, and then, as long as it is not disruptive to your employer, you may get some time off.”

However, Cooper insists the legislation includes safeguards for workers and leaves the decision to offer comp time to employers and the option to exercise it up to employees.

“Democratic members who oppose this legislation clearly believe government is the only worthy employer,” Cooper said. “We believe all moms and dads deserve options.”

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