Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Do you work overtime? Here's what you need to know

Do you work overtime? Here's what you need to know

Republican Alabama Representative Martha Roby recently introduced act, which would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Here's what you need to know about what's in play.

As written, eligible employees would have to agree in writing to the "comp time" arrangement.

The 79-year-old law now mandates that certain employees who work more than 40 hours per week must earn time-and-a-half compensation in their next paycheck for the extra time. Some people argue the bill gives employers the final say on when comp time can be used.

States get a say too.

Q: Are there any restrictions as to when employees can use their comp time? In these cases, whichever rule would pay an employee the most - federal or state - is the one that's enforced. "I've always said Congress cannot legislate another hour into the day, but we can update our laws to allow more choice and fairness in how working Americans use their time".

Instead of a fatter check in the next pay period, the worker gets a promise to be compensated when it's convenient for the employer.

But not everyone is happy with the status quo. This bill would enable his employees to take accrued comp time during the slow season, he said.

Employees would not be allowed to take comp time until they had worked for their employers at least 1,000 hours in a 12-month period. The vote tally was largely along party lines, with no Democrats voting in favor of the bill.

Under current Senate rules, the bill would need 60 votes to pass. Republicans have 52 seats, so they would need Democratic support for the measure, unless they change Senate rules.

Q: If an employer decides to offer comp time, can employees still opt for overtime pay?

According to a release from Representative Kristi Noem, H.R.1180 (Working Families Flexibility Act) gives workers flexibility in choosing between overtime pay and additional time off - "a choice that's hard to offer under existing labor laws", the release stated.

That doesn't mean it will change.

No Democrats supported it. She could request that the unused time be cashed out - but, even then, the employer would have up to 30 days to comply.

Democrats predicted some employees who'd prefer time-and-a-half pay for overtime would feel obligated to take comp time instead, and enforcing the bill's anti-coercion provisions would require resources most workers don't have.

President Donald Trump's administration backs the bill, and his advisers would recommend that he sign it, a White House press statement said. And unlike similar bills that have been considered over the years, this one might actually have a chance of passing.

The House of Representatives has passed HR 1180, otherwise known as the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017.

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