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House backs bill to change overtime rules for private sector

04 May 2017, 07:58 | Virginia Santiago

House backs bill to change overtime rules for private sector

House backs bill to change overtime rules for private sector

On Tuesday, the House voted to pass the Working Families Flexibility Act, a bill to change the way employees are compensated for overtime work.

The bill passed the House 229-197, largely along party lines with all Democrats and six Republicans voting against it. Reports suggest that although Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate, they will need at least eight Democrats to vote in favor of the bill to avoid a filibuster.

The bill passed the House with no Democratic support. A letter from almost 90 groups opposing the bill notes that the bill provides no guarantee that workers would get their earned overtime if a company goes bankrupt or closes up shop.

Trump is expected to sign the bill if it passes the Senate.

The bill called the Working Families Flexibility act has been welcomed by small businesses and national retail and restaurant groups, but the difference could negatively affect the paychecks of workers who rely on the time-and-a-half pay added to their paychecks for the extra hours.

The bill keeps in place all other requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act and maintains protections for employees. The bill also prohibits employers from coercing or intimidating employees to choose time off instead of overtime pay.

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Eisenbrey says the bill empowers employers to dictate when employees can take time off. It seeks to take a similar provision that has been available to government workers since 1985 and extend it to private-sector employees, making it legal for them to choose between an hour and a half of paid comp time and time-and-a-half pay when they work additional hours. This would give employees full control over whether or not they take the time off instead of the extra pay, USA Today notes.

They really don't like this bill.

Among supporters of the bill is the Society for Human Resource Management.

With working families across the country scraping to make ends meet, Congress should strengthen protections for workers - not gut them. Or, as House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member, Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia, said during the bill's markup, "H.R. 1180 doesn't give employees any rights they don't already have ..." Upon termination of employment, the employer must pay out any unused comp time to the departing employee.

"The so-called Working Families Flexibility Act is not a solution", committee member Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, a Democrat from OR, said in a statement. In the case of non-union employees, the agreement between the employee and the employer must be reached before the overtime work is performed and the agreement must be affirmed by a written or otherwise verifiable record maintained by the employer.



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