One question employers ask me all the time is whether they can provide employees compensatory time (extra time off) in lieu of overtime. For private-sector employers, my answer is always the same—no.
I am hoping, however, that I soon may have to change my answer. Earlier this week, the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 [H.R. 1406] was introduced in Congress.
This bill would do all of the following:
- Permit employers to provide compensatory time off, earned at the rate of 1.5 hours per hour of overtime worked, in lieu of overtime pay.
- Provide that any comp time program must be supported by a written agreement.
- Allow employers to exclude from any comp time program employees who have worked less than 1,000 hours in the prior 12 months.
- Cap the annual comp time allotment at 160 hours per employee.
- Require that employers pay out any unused comp time at termination.
- Permits employees to use comp time upon reasonable notice, unless it unduly disrupts the employer's operations.
The Fair Labor Standards Act already provides similar rights to public sector employers. It's about time that the law is changed to provide the same rights to those in the private sector. I'll keep everyone updated if there is any movement on this bill.