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House Bill Would Permit Comp Time for Overtime

May 9, 2017
The U.S. House of Representatives adopted a bill last week that would allow private-sector employers to offer hourly workers compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay. The vote was 229-197, pretty much on party lines. 
 
The bill, House 1180, was sent to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future.
 
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) currently requires employers to pay non-exempt, or hourly, workers overtime (i.e. 1.5 times their regular pay) for time worked after 40 hours per week.
 
Supporters of the House bill say non-exempt employees would be able to bank overtime as comp time to be used as the employee needs it in the future for family or personal reasons. Some of the key provisions include: 
  • Employers and employees must agree to the program in advance and in writing.
  • An employee’s opting-in cannot be a condition of employment and the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 1,000 hours during the past year.
  • Employees may not accrue more than 160 hours of comp time. Employers may adopt a cap as low as 80. 
  • An employer must allow workers to use their comp time within a “reasonable period” (undefined) after making the request but an employer may deny the request if it would “unduly disrupt” operations.
  • An employee may request to cash out his or her comp time and the employer must provide the pay within a month. Employers must cash out all comp time once per year and provide the pay within a month.
  • Comp time must be paid out at either the employee’s current rate or his or her rate at the time the PTO was accrued, whichever is higher.
The House has passed bills like this in the past but they have always died in the Senate. While the White House offered support, there is no clear timetable for when the bill may be debated or voted on in the Senate. 
 
Members interested in discussing this or other aspects of the FLSA may call the AIM Employer Hotline at 800-470-6277. 
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