As employment attorneys, the members of The Spitz Law Firm spend a lot of time discerning whether our clients have been properly compensated and if our clients properly and/or improperly characterized as “salaried” employees exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requirement that non-exempt employees be paid time-and-a-half for working more than forty (40) hours in any given week.
Republicans in Congress, however, have just pushed a bill through the House of Representatives that could significantly alter traditional understandings of the FLSA. The bill is entitled the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013, and its general provisions would provide private employers with an option between paying hourly employees time-and-a-half their normal rate for hours worked over forty a week and/or providing the employee with “comp time;” essentially, converting overtime hours into time-off of work. Advocates for the bill, almost exclusively Republicans, argue that the choice between “comp time” and overtime pay makes sense in a modern economy in which parents often struggle to spend more time with their children, and would value the chance to do so more than additional pay.
Democrats largely oppose the Working Families Flexibility Act, providing it with the alternative title of the “More Work, Less Pay Act.”
One major issue for employees and employment attorneys alike include the potential for employers to circumvent the basic premise of the FLSA’s essential tax on employers who require workers to put in more than forty hours a week. The potential problem was perhaps best explained by Chris Townsend, political director for the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America union, who told The Huffington Post, during an interview, that such a measure could “liquidate the whole concept of paid leave.” Rather than giving workers the standard two weeks of vacation or a handful of sick days, Townsend argued, employers could invite workers to “earn” their time off by working overtime.”How much time off do you get?” Townsend asked. “Well, as much comp time as you want to earn.”
The employment attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm, as well as many employees who rely on their receipt of overtime pay, will continue to follow the development of the Working Families Flexibility Act.
If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The Spitz Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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