May 8, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington,DC – The House voted May 2 to pass a bill that would let private-sector employees take “compensatory time” off instead of getting time-and-a-half pay for working overtime.
The vote was 229-197, largely along party lines. Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), the bill’s sponsor, said it “provides flexibility for working moms and dads who need more time to spend taking care of their family responsibilities.” But the bill would give employers the power to decide when workers can take that time off, saying employees have to give “reasonable notice” and not “unduly disrupt” the workplace. “The choice between overtime pay and comp time is a false choice for workers,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). “We know what happens in the reality of the workplace. The vague promise of time off in the future is often never realized.” Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), argued that the bill was unnecessary, because under current law, employees can work overtime, save the money, and then ask for unpaid time off. Republicans have been trying to pass similar legislation since 1995. The Trump administration has endorsed the bill, and while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hasn’t, he has backed similar measures in the past. Read more