The Working Families Protection Act (H.R. 1) — What It Does

What the The Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1) Would Do*

As working men and women find it increasingly difficult to balance work and family responsibilities, their employers are often hampered by outdated federal law in their attempts to accomodate employee requests for more flexibility in work schedules. The Working Families Flexibility Act (HR 1) would remove legal obstacles which prevent many employers from providing increased flexibility to their employees who are covered by the overtime provisions of the law.

* The Fair Labor Standards Act (enacted in 1938) is a straitjacket on work schedules. The Working Families Flexibility Act would give private-sector employees the option of offering their employees the choice of opting for paid time off as compensation for working overtime hours. Employers would not be required to implement a compensatory time policy. No federal mandates are involved. Public sector employers and employees have long enjoyed this flexibility.

* Under the Working Families Flexibility Act, if an employer decides to offer a compensatory time program, employees would then be allowed to choose, through a written, voluntary agreement with their employers, to receive paid time off in lieu of cash wages for overtime hours worked. A compensatory time agreement may not be a condition of employment.

* If an employer and an employee agree on compensatory time in lieu of overtime cash compensation, the compensatory time is earned at the same rate as cash overtime pay — one and one half hours for each hour of overtime worked. The employee is paid (at his or her regular rate) when the compensatory time is used by the employee.

* The Working Families Flexibility Act retains all of the employee protections in current overtime laws and adds new protections to the law to ensure that the choice and use of compensatory time is voluntary.

* Employees could accure up to 240 hours of compensatory time each year. An employer would pay cash wages for any unused accured time at the end of the year. Employees who want to receive cash wages would continue to receive cash wages for their overtime.

*Scheduled for a House Vote March 19, 1997

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