The Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180) (“the Act”), introduced by Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.), aims to “amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide compensatory time for employees in the private sector” by allowing employees, through an agreement with their employers, to choose paid time off as compensation for working more than 40 hours in one week (“comp time”).
Read the full official text here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1180/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22H.R.+1180%22%5D%7D&r=1
The Act would allow employers to offer comp time in lieu of time-and-a-half pay to non-supervisory (“non-exempt”) workers who work more than 40 hours in a week. Nearly 80 years ago, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) created the guarantee of basic wage and hour protection, including the standard of a 40-hour workweek and the right for certain workers to be paid at one-and-a-half times their regular rate when they work for longer hours.
The Act proposes that an employee would be allowed to bank up to 160 hours of comp time. The employee does not have the definite right to use that time when the employee needs it, even in the case of a personal or family emergency. However, the Act would allow workers to request that their banked comp time be paid out in cash rather than time off. But employers are given up to 30 days to fulfill a cash-out request. The Act does not provide a remedy for a worker whose request to use comp time is denied other than requesting a cash-out for the unused time. Consequently, workers whose employers go out of business or bankrupt would have no recourse to recover the value of banked time.
It is uncertain what the exact effects would be if H.R. 1180 passes, however, the Act would essentially undermine basic guarantees of the FLSA: fair pay for overtime work and time off work. The FLSA’s overtime pay requirement created a disincentive for employers to overwork employees, and an incentive to hire additional employees thereby creating additional jobs.
Our office will continue to post updates on this legislation as further developments arise.