Bill Would Amend FLSA and Allow Compensatory Time for Private-Sector Employees

Last month, Republican lawmakers reintroduced a bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow employees the option to take paid time off in lieu of collecting overtime pay.

Positioned as a response to the Democrats’ Healthy Families Act, which would allow workers to earn up to seven job-protected paid sick days a year—the Working Families Flexibility Act would:

  • allow private employers to provide compensatory time to employees—by agreement—at a rate of 1.5 hours per hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required
  • cap compensatory time at 160 hours
  • require payment of unused compensatory time at the end of every calendar year

Under the proposed legislation, employees could not be forced to take compensatory time and would not be eligible for such a program until they had worked at least 1,000 hours for their employer during a period of continuous employment. The legislation maintains the 40-hour workweek and contains other mechanisms to protect employees, such as a provision for liquidated damages.

Originally introduced in 2013, the bill passed the House of Representatives but was not heard by the Senate. The bill was reintroduced in the House by Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., and a companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.