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flexibility

Working Families Flexibility Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act currently mandates that certain employees who work more than 40 hours per week must earn time-and-a-half compensation in their next paycheck for the extra time.  The Working Families Flexibility Act would provide private-sector employees with the choice of being paid time and one-half for overtime, or receiving an equal amount of comp time. If employees decided to accept comp time, they could only use it “within a reasonable period after making the request” and then only “if the use of the compensatory time does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.”

Employees would not be allowed to take comp time until they had worked for their employers at least 1,000 hours in a 12-month period. Those opting for monetary compensation for overtime would have to put the request in writing, and employers would have to provide payment within 30 days of receiving the request.  The Flexibility Act presents a stark contrast to Department of Labor overtime regulations announced in 2016. That law sought to double the salary threshold of workers entitled to overtime pay. It was due to take effect in December 2016, but was blocked by a Texas judge.

Flexibility Currently

Overtime rules currently don’t apply to workers who are considered managers, defined as someone who regularly directs two or more full-time employees, earns a salary of more than $455 per week (or $23,660 per year) and has a say in hiring and firing.  Many states have their own overtime rules. In these cases, whichever rule would pay an employee the most — federal or state — is the one that’s enforced.  In California, for example, state law dictates that certain workers must be paid time-and-a-half wages not just if they work more than 40 hours per week, but also if they work more than eight hours in a day. If employees work more than 12 hours in day, they get double-time wages.

The bill has been supported by the Trump administration, which put out a press release saying President Trump would likely sign it into law if the bill passes as currently written. Bills are often subjected to numerous amendments and alterations when forwarded to the Senate.  Democratic leadership, however, is opposed to the measure.  Under current Senate rules, the bill would need 60 votes to pass. Republicans have 52 seats, so they would need Democratic support for the measure, unless they change Senate rules.

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