Overtime Bill Awaits Vote in the Senate

The U.S. Senate is considering legislation that could change the rules of overtime for millions of workers and their companies.

The "Working Families Flexibility Act" already passed the House.  It gives private companies the option of offering time off in lieu of overtime pay.

“So if you worked an overtime, you could take an hour-and-a-half off as comp time,” says David Barron, labor and employment attorney with Cozen O’Connor in Houston.

“Right now if a non-exempt employee works over 40 hours in a work week, the employer is required to pay that employee overtime,” he says.  “So what this law would do is allow the employer and employee to reach an agreement where the employee could choose time off instead of pay.”

Unions oppose the bill, calling a “smoke-and-mirrors” attempt at cutting pay without guaranteed time off.  But Barron insists there are provisions to protect workers' rights.

“It makes it illegal for an employer to coerce or intimidate an employee into taking the time off as opposed to the overtime,” he says.  “It also requires employers to pay out the overtime if someone leaves the company.  Also, if an employee asks for it, they can request to have their overtime paid to them.”

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