Press Releases

Jaime Herrera Beutler Supports “Flex Time” Bill for Working Families

The “Working Families Flexibility Act” allows employees to opt for time with families

f t # e
Washington, DC, May 2, 2017 | comments
Today Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler voted with the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Working Families Flexibility Act – a legislative solution that gives workers in the private sector more choices when they need time off to spend with their families.
share: f t

Today Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler voted with the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Working Families Flexibility Act – a legislative solution that gives workers in the private sector more choices when they need time off to spend with their families. 

Currently employees working in the public sector who exceed a 40 hour work week are able to make a choice between paid time off or overtime pay, both at the rate of time and a half.  However, private sector employees are prohibited by federal law from making this same choice – as of now, private sector employees can only receive overtime pay.  Parents working in the private sector who want to attend a child’s soccer game or music recital, and would prefer flex time to overtime, currently don’t have that option.

This bill would expand choices for families struggling to balance demanding schedules.  Under this bill, the overtime pay option would be preserved, but individuals would be able to choose the flex time option too.  This flex time option would be completely voluntary for employers to offer, and for employees to choose.  That means if an employee prefers overtime pay, that’s what they will continue to receive.

“Many families are seeking flexibility and a better work-life balance these days, and this solution would give parents the ability to schedule doctor appointments, spend time with kids or help aging parents,” said Jaime. “My goal here is to give working moms and dads more choices – and that includes preserving the option to receive overtime pay. It’s important to me that this bill protects workers’ rights to choose what’s best for them.”

What this bill does:

  • The bill allows employers to offer employees a choice between cash wages and comp time for overtime hours worked.  Employees who want to receive cash wages would continue to do so.  It updates the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which prohibits private sector employers from offering their employees the choice of accruing time off for working overtime hours.
  • Workers are free to ‘cash out’ their accrued comp time whenever they choose to do so.  The comp time option is completely voluntary.
  • The legislation retains all existing employee protections in current law, and adds additional safeguards to ensure workers remain in control of their overtime compensation.
  • It requires a written agreement between the employer and employee, voluntarily and knowingly entered into by the employee.  An employer is forbidden by law from making the comp time agreement a condition of employment.
  • Employees represented by union would need the comp time agreement to be settled on through collective bargaining between a union and employer.
  • Neither the method for calculating overtime, nor the employees right to receive cash wages for overtime work, are altered. 
  • Compensatory time off accrues at the same rate as overtime, 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked.
  • Employees could accrue up to 160 hours of compensatory time each year.  An employer would be required to pay cash wages for any unused, accrued time at the end of the year. 
f t # e