Charge & Response: Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013

CHARGE: The Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406) erodes the basic guarantees of the Fair Labor Standards Act: pay for overtime work and time off from work. (An Empty Promise: The Working Families Flexibility Act Would Give Workers Less Flexibility and Less Pay, National Partnership for Women and Families)

RESPONSE: The Working Families Flexibility Act updates an outdated law to give private-sector employees the opportunity to choose how they would be compensated for overtime hours worked – just like public-sector workers. (H.R. 1406, The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013)

  • Under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, private-sector employees are allowed only limited workplace flexibility.
  • Private-sector workers are currently only allowed to use paid time off during the same pay period in which it is accrued, while public sector employees can accrue comp time and use it at their discretion with the approval from their employer.
  • The Working Families Flexibility Act gives the worker more flexibility to do what they want with their comp time and provides private sector employees with similar to benefits to those of public sector employees.

CHARGE:The misnamed Working Families Flexibility Act will mean a pay cut for workers without any guaranteed flexibility or time off. (An Empty Promise: The Working Families Flexibility Act Would Give Workers Less Flexibility and Less Pay, National Partnership for Women and Families)

RESPONSE: The Working Families Flexibility Act protects workers’ time and wages, by granting employers the option to allow the employee to use their additional hours worked for comp time or cash wages.  Employees who want to receive cash wages would continue to do so. No employee can be forced to take comp time instead of receiving overtime pay. (H.R. 1406, The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013)

  • An employee who prefers to receive cash payment for overtime hours worked is always free to do so, and will receive paid time off at the same time-and-a-half rate currently used for overtime wages.
  • The Working Families Flexibility Act requires the employer and employee to complete a written comp time agreement. An employee can withdraw from this agreement at any time and receive his or her accrued comp time in cash wages.
  • Workers can cash out their accrued comp time whenever they choose and receive the equivalent in cash wages.

CHARGE: The proposal provides few worker protections in cases of employer misconduct. (An Empty Promise: The Working Families Flexibility Act Would Give Workers Less Flexibility and Less Pay, National Partnership for Women and Families)

RESPONSE: The Working Families Flexibility Act includes strong employee protections to ensure the use of comp time is completely voluntary. (H.R. 1406, The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013)

  • Workers are entitled to use their time whenever they choose as long as they provide reasonable notice and the leave will not ‘unduly disrupt’ business operations.
  • The ‘unduly disrupt’ provision included in The Working Families Flexibility Act is the same standard used today for public employees receiving comp time. This standard has worked well in the public sector for nearly 30 years.
  • All existing enforcement remedies – including action by the U.S. Department of Labor – are available if a worker believes his or her employer unreasonably refuses to allow workers to use accrued comp time.