“this is a matter of fairness”

Though you should thank your mom every day for all she’s done for you, Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to reflect on how hard our moms work to give you a leg up in life.

For working parents like Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), it’s not always easy to have a hectic work schedule AND be completely present for all of life’s little moments with their children. As she puts it, life can be a “constant balancing act.”

“…I try my best to find work/life balance by not taking my work home with me,” says Roby. “That’s not easy when you’re a congressman, but when it’s homework time for the kids or I’m cooking dinner with my husband, I try to be fully present with them. Of course, that’s not always possible, but I’ve found that it helps to maintain some separation between the two. While I try not to bring work home with me, I do incorporate my family at work. Both of my kids get to come up to Washington every year for a week with mom at work. They’ll come with me to committee meetings and votes on the floor, and more. Sometimes they’re along for the ride during district work weeks as well. …It’s special to spend that time together, and I believe it’s important for them to see and understand what I do as a Member of Congress.”

Roby, like millions of working parents across the country, understands the importance of having more time. That was the inspiration behind her Working Families Flexibility Act. The concept is simple: allow people the option to turn their overtime pay into paid time off — an option that already exists for people who work for the government.

Says Roby: “This is a matter of fairness. All working parents should have access to greater choices and increased time flexibility at work…Should a working dad be forced to use up all of his vacation time in order to be involved in his child’s school? Should a military mom with her husband deployed have to use sick leave to make sure her kids have the parental support they need? Should someone with aging parents who require extra care have no option allowing them to devote more time and attention to their parents when they need it most? Of course not.”

“This bill aims to get Washington out of the way and give employees and employers the freedom to choose what works best for them.”

Here’s what House Republicans (and parents) had to say about the Working Families Flexibility Act:

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO): Family time is important to everyone, not just government employees

“We’ve brought our kids here, and know the challenges of juggling work and family, and we’re not alone. …that’s why I’m so excited about [this] bill. …I know there are many moms and dads out there working today who would love to be able to have the flexibility in the workplace where they can take off and spend time with their kids at the soccer game or when they get that phone call from the school that their child is sick… they can take them to the doctor, stay home with them. …It is priceless to be able to [spend time with family.] It’s really sad now that in our country only half of American workers have that option.”

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA): Decisions should be made by employers/employees, not the government

“One thing I greatly treasure is time with my family. This was especially important when my children were younger. However, when an employee would like additional time off with their family, instead of cash payment for overtime, private-sector businesses, by law, have not been allowed to offer that option. This should be a decision left to the employee and employer, not the government. That’s why I supported this voluntary program to give hardworking families the flexibility and option to spend more time with the ones they love when they put in those extra hours at work.”

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS): This is family-friendly legislation

Hardworking Americans who are paid hourly wages and work overtime should have the choice to receive the money or have leave to spend how they choose. Under our outdated law, they don’t have this choice today. This commonsense legislation will fix that, and will directly benefit workers and their families. …for hourly workers, having the voluntary option to take either money or more time with their families opens up a world of possibilities for folks to spend more time with their kids, run errands, or make appointments.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): This puts you in charge

“This is a bill that puts you in charge of how you want to be compensated for overtime work. Do you want the money? Do you want the added time so that you have control of your schedule? Yes — this is about empowering the employee.”

Roby’s legislation recently passed the House, and is now in the Senate. The Working Families Flexibility Act is one example of the ways House Republicans are helping Americans have the freedom to choose what’s best for them and for their families.