Fitzpatrick Votes to Give Working Families More Flexibility
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) voted Wednesday to give workers and employers voluntary flexibility to request compensatory time instead of overtime pay.
The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 [H.R. 1406], which passed the House by a 223 to 204 vote, updates an outdated federal law that allows private sector workers the same rights and options as government employees in choosing how they are compensated for overtime worked.
“Far too often, parents are forced to choose between the afterschool parent-teacher conference or taking their elderly parents to a doctor’s appointment and being at work during a pre-set schedule,” said Fitzpatrick, “This bill now gives that parent and their employer a way to make life work while getting the job done the right way.”
“This bill provides the latitude families deserve in choosing the compensation that works best for them,” said Fitzpatrick. “I support giving working moms and dads the same benefits government workers already enjoy. If it’s good enough public sector employees, it’s good enough for everyday working families.”
“If a worker chooses overtime, great,” said Fitzpatrick, “The point of this bill is to give workers and employers a choice- something that currently does not exist in the law today.”
The Working Families Flexibility Act protects workers time and wages by granting employers the option to allow employees to use additional hours worked for comp time or cash wages. Employees still would be able to receive cash payments for overtime work at the standard time-and-a-half rate, but also would be allowed to voluntarily enter into a written comp time agreement with their employer. These agreements can be dissolved by the employee at any time and they can receive their accrued comp time in cash wages.
“American families are some the most efficient organizations in the world- that’s why I support this bill that lets busy parents balance work and family,” said Fitzpatrick.
No worker can be intimidated, coerced, or forced to accept comp time instead of cash wages. Employers who coerce employees into choosing comp time would be liable to the employees for double damages. All existing enforcement remedies – including action by the U.S. Department of Labor – are available to workers if an employer fails to pay cash wages for overtime hours or unreasonably refuses to allow workers to use accrued comp time
Under the law, businesses are protected as well, by allowing workers to use their time whenever they choose as long as they provide reasonable notice and their leave would not ‘unduly disrupt’ normal business operations. This provision is the same standard used for public employees over the last 30 years.
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.