Bill would allow nonexempt workers comp time in place of overtime pay

Dive Brief:

  • A newly proposed bill would change the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime mandate to allow nonexempt workers compensatory time off in place of overtime pay, reports Workforce Magazine. Congress introduced the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 earlier this year.
  • Under current FLSA rules, employers must pay nonexempt workers overtime at the rate of 1.5 times their current 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, writes the magazine.
  • The bill also would cap the amount of comp time employees could accrue 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, and require employers to pay out any unused comp time accrued upon termination for any reason.

Dive Insight:

Allowing exempt employees compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay provides another option for work-life balance. Some workers prefer more time off over more money and wouldn’t mind swapping overtime pay for more personal time. The key here is that the law allows the employee to choose this option, rather than the employer, who must honor either choice.

Some organizations allow exempt employees who work excessive hours the choice of taking comp time off. Although the new bill doesn’t cover exempt workers, a comp-time benefit could work for them, as well.

The current Congress leans conservative, but has expressed interest in passing some form of paid family leave as well. Other "family-friendly," flexibility-enabling policies may also find success before Congress during Trump's administration — though, notably, overtime increases may not be one of them.

The Obama administration's attempt to increase the overtime threshold is currently stalled in the courts, and under Trump, likely won't survive the year. But bills akin to this one may see more success in coming Congressional sessions.

Filed Under: Legal
Top image credit: Marcin Wichary