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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

GOP seeks alternative to overtime pay

Posted by on May. 6, 2013 at 10:25 PM
  • 41 Replies

WASHINGTON (AP) — It seems like a simple proposition: give employees who work more than 40 hours a week the option of taking paid time off instead of overtime pay.

The choice already exists in the public sector. Federal and state workers can save earned time off and use it weeks or even months later to attend a parent-teacher conference, care for an elderly parent or deal with home repairs.

Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that would extend that option to the private sector. They say that would bring more flexibility to the workplace and help workers better balance family and career.

The push is part of a broader Republican agenda undertaken by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to expand the party's political appeal to working families. The House is expected to vote on the measure this week, but the Democratic-controlled Senate isn't likely to take it up.

"For some people, time is more valuable than the cash that would be accrued in overtime," said Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., the bill's chief sponsor. "Why should public-sector employees be given a benefit and the private sector be left out?"

But the idea Republicans promote as "pro-worker" is vigorously opposed by worker advocacy groups, labor unions and most Democrats, who claim it's really a backdoor way for businesses to skimp on overtime pay.

The White House on Monday issued a veto threat, saying the bill undermines the right to overtime pay and doesn't offer enough protection for workers who may not want to receive compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.

"This is nothing more than an effort to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse," said Judith Lichtman, senior adviser to the National Partnership for Women and Families. She contends the measure would open the door for employers to pressure workers into taking compensatory time off instead of overtime pay.

The program was created in the public sector in 1985 to save federal, state and local governments money, not to give workers greater flexibility, Lichtman said. Many workers in federal and state government are unionized or have civil service protections that give them more leverage in dealing with supervisors, she added. Those safeguards don't always exist in the private sector, where only about 6.6 percent of employees are union members.

Phil Jones, 29, an emergency medical technician in Santa Clara, Calif., said he's wary of how the measure would be enforced.

"Any time there's a law that will keep extra money in an employer's bank account, they will try to push employees to make that choice," said Jones, who regularly earns overtime pay. "I know how we get taken advantage of and I think this bill will just let employers take even more advantage of us."

But at a hearing on the bill last month, Karen DeLoach, a bookkeeper at a Montgomery, Ala., accounting firm, said she liked the idea of swapping overtime pay for comp time so she could travel with her church on its annual mission trip to Nicaragua.

"I would greatly appreciate the option at work to choose between being compensated in dollars or days," she said.

The GOP plan is an effort to change the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which requires covered employees to receive time-and-a-half pay for every hour over 40 within a work week. The proposal would allow workers to bank up to 160 hours, or four weeks, of comp time per year that could be used to take time off for any reason.

The bill would let an employee decide to cash out comp time at any time, and forbids employers from coercing workers to take comp time instead of cash.

Republicans and business groups have tried to pass the plan in some form since the 1990s. Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, insists it's not about reducing wage costs.

"It's an alternative to the mandated paid leave approaches that Democrats typically support," Freedman said. "We believe it's more appropriate to give employers the choice on whether they want to do this."

Democrats say the bill provides no guarantee that workers would be able to take the time off when they want. The bill gives employers discretion over whether to grant a specific request to use comp time. Opponents also complain that banking leave time essentially gives employers an interest free loan from workers.

Lichtman said workers would rather get paid sick days, paid family leave, more unpaid family leave and an increase in the minimum wage.

But Alabama congresswoman Roby argues that, in the long run, those ideas would do workers more harm than good.

"The cost of government-mandated benefits is going to be passed off to American workers," she said, resulting in fewer jobs.

http://news.yahoo.com/gop-seeks-alternative-overtime-pay-074228556.html

by on May. 6, 2013 at 10:25 PM
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Replies (1-10):
-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on May. 6, 2013 at 10:26 PM
1 mom liked this

Wonderful. Lets just not pay people period. Problem solved.

They sure like making poor people...

Arroree
by Ruby Member on May. 6, 2013 at 10:30 PM
1 mom liked this

This sort of thing may work for higher level job workers but all it would do is screw over the low income workers. Just another way for bosses to make them work more hours for less pay then conveniently fire or find some excuse not to pay them for it later. Companies will pull out any reasoning, any loophole, anything possible to keep from paying people that paid time off later on. They already pull that kind of crap with the paid time off *sick leave, vacation time* that employees are already supposed to get.

LauraKW
by "Dude!" on May. 6, 2013 at 10:41 PM
This will not benefit blue collar workers.
Euphoric
by Bazinga! on May. 6, 2013 at 10:43 PM

 This

Quoting LauraKW:

This will not benefit blue collar workers.

 

www.cafemom.com/group/116692
Arroree
by Ruby Member on May. 6, 2013 at 11:09 PM

Yep


Quoting Euphoric:

 This

Quoting LauraKW:

This will not benefit blue collar workers.

 



colins_mom
by Silver Member on May. 6, 2013 at 11:15 PM
while it would bite my paycheck, like hardcore, I actually would love to be able to say "i worked 12 hours yesterday, my kid has soccer practice today so I.am going to take a half day with pay"
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on May. 6, 2013 at 11:25 PM
That's not actually how comp time works. In your example, you haven't actually accrued any comp time. You would still have to work the rest of your scheduled week, and probably also have to finish out that current pay period before you would have officially earned the time. And your employer can restrict when you can use your comp time, much the same as vacation time is often restricted. The situation you mentioned is more of a flexible schedule. One good thing about earning comp time in lieu of OT: just as OT is typically 1.5 times the base rate, the comp time would be earned at 1.5 times as well. Work 5 hours extra, earn 7.5 comp time.

Quoting colins_mom:

while it would bite my paycheck, like hardcore, I actually would love to be able to say "i worked 12 hours yesterday, my kid has soccer practice today so I.am going to take a half day with pay"
Arroree
by Ruby Member on May. 6, 2013 at 11:38 PM

While it may be typicall in the high sector for bosses to do comp time at 1.5x the base rate, this bill wouldn't make it cumpulsory that they do so and no low sector job is going to do that. If anything most will try to pay the absolute least they possibly can for those comp hours and will try everything possible to not have to give the hours at all.



Quoting LauraKW:

That's not actually how comp time works. In your example, you haven't actually accrued any comp time. You would still have to work the rest of your scheduled week, and probably also have to finish out that current pay period before you would have officially earned the time. And your employer can restrict when you can use your comp time, much the same as vacation time is often restricted. The situation you mentioned is more of a flexible schedule. One good thing about earning comp time in lieu of OT: just as OT is typically 1.5 times the base rate, the comp time would be earned at 1.5 times as well. Work 5 hours extra, earn 7.5 comp time.

Quoting colins_mom:

while it would bite my paycheck, like hardcore, I actually would love to be able to say "i worked 12 hours yesterday, my kid has soccer practice today so I.am going to take a half day with pay"



grandmab125
by Gold Member on May. 6, 2013 at 11:43 PM
1 mom liked this

 1.  First off:

"

"As predicted in our recent post about comp time Heads-Up Employers: Is comp time the wave of the future? legislation that would allow private sector employers to offer their employees compensatory time off in lieu of overtime was reintroduced in the House of Representatives last week.  On April 9, 2013, Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) introduced the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406) that, if passed, would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to permit private-sector employees to opt for paid time off (“comp time”) at a rate of at least one-and-one-half hours of compensatory time per hour of overtime pay earned.

 

Comp time has long been available in the public sector: Instead of being paid in cash for the overtime hours, a public sector employee is allowed to accumulate and take time off in the future with pay on the basis of 1½ hours of paid time off for each actual hour of overtime worked.  To date, this type of comp time option has not been extended to private sector employers.  Indeed, private sector comp time is unlawful except in certain limited situations."

2.  Try reading the bill before you all bitch.

3.  Of course unions would be against it, because under some unions, the employee's dues are based on salary, not a flat rate.  Ergo, time and half gets the unions more money.

 

grandma B

LauraKW
by "Dude!" on May. 6, 2013 at 11:43 PM
I haven't read the bill, but comp time typically has to be the equivalent in accrual as the OT rate, ie a minimum of 1.5. But I do agree that *some* companies would absolutely try to get out of their comp time liabilities.

Quoting Arroree:

While it may be typicall in the high sector for bosses to do comp time at 1.5x the base rate, this bill wouldn't make it cumpulsory that they do so and no low sector job is going to do that. If anything most will try to pay the absolute least they possibly can for those comp hours and will try everything possible to not have to give the hours at all.




Quoting LauraKW:

That's not actually how comp time works. In your example, you haven't actually accrued any comp time. You would still have to work the rest of your scheduled week, and probably also have to finish out that current pay period before you would have officially earned the time. And your employer can restrict when you can use your comp time, much the same as vacation time is often restricted. The situation you mentioned is more of a flexible schedule. One good thing about earning comp time in lieu of OT: just as OT is typically 1.5 times the base rate, the comp time would be earned at 1.5 times as well. Work 5 hours extra, earn 7.5 comp time.



Quoting colins_mom:

while it would bite my paycheck, like hardcore, I actually would love to be able to say "i worked 12 hours yesterday, my kid has soccer practice today so I.am going to take a half day with pay"




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