Employees in the private sector might soon get a choice when it comes to compensation for overtime work. The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017, a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, would give private sector employees the option to earn time off rather than overtime pay when working more than 40 hours per week.
The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to open that door. The bill was introduced in February and has already made its way through the House, earning approval last week, and is now before the Senate. The bill gives employees the option to take paid time off, rather than extra pay, at a time-and-a-half rate, in line with the overtime pay rate. The bill largely follows what is already in place for public employees.
Employers that offer that option must still follow requirements of collective bargaining agreements, and when an employee is not represented by a labor organization, the employer must come to an agreement with the employee. The employee is given the ability to choose whether to accept the comp time rather than overtime pay. The FLSA has granted the option for comp time for overtime for public employees for years, but private employers were only previously required to offer overtime pay for nonexempt employees.