The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) currently requires private sector employers to pay non-exempt employees overtime for every hour that they work in excess of 40 hours per week. However, a new bill proposes that private sector employers should be able to give employees the option of choosing additional paid time off instead of traditional overtime pay.
The “Comp Time” bill has recently moved to the Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. If passed, this legislation would give employees the opportunity to earn paid time off for every hour that they work over 40 hours per week. Instead of being paid 1.5 times their regular rate, employees would accrue 1.5 hours of paid time off for every hour of overtime.
But, there would be some limitations on this rule. First, not every employee would be able to make this choice. Non-exempt employees must have worked at least 1,000 hours in the last year in order to qualify for this option. There is also a 160-hour cap on the overtime hours that one employee can use to accrue vacation time. At the end of the year or the termination of an employee’s employment, the employer must provide monetary compensation to the employee for every unused hour of paid time off.
Many lawmakers have supported this bill because it gives employers more flexibility and allows employees to maintain a work-life balance by taking more time off. However, there are some opponents to the proposed legislation. Those who oppose the bill believe it goes against the principles of the FSLA and could lead to an increase in wage violation claims.
It’s important to note that public sector employees already have the option of choosing how they want to be compensated for overtime, so it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to introduce this concept into the private sector as well.
But for now, the future of this bill is uncertain. The current bill is not supported by Democrats, which means it is unlikely to pass unless major changes are made. Even if it was passed, the law would be up for renewal in five years, pending an investigation into the success of the new measures. In addition, several states have established laws that prevent employers from offering paid time off instead of overtime pay, so the impact of this bill would be limited.
Has your employer failed to pay you overtime? If you are a non-exempt employee who is not being fairly compensated for overtime, seek legal representation at once. Call Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. today at 918-582-2500, or toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with our experienced team of attorneys.