Bill Proposed to Make FMLA More 'Flexible'

March 4, 2003 ( - The US House of Representatives will soon discuss a Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) amendment bill, allowing employees to take time off instead of overtime pay.

The Family Time Flexibility Act, sponsored by Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL), is designed to give employees more flexibility in balancing home and work responsibilities.   The working arrangement, known as “family time,” would extend family time benefits to hourly paid private sector workers.

Under the family time legislation proposal, non-salaried workers, through a voluntary agreement with their employer, could opt for paid time off as compensation for working overtime hours.   Comparatively, public sector employees have had this option available to them for 15 years.

“There is a real need to embrace practical solutions that build upon the FMLA to facilitate additional flexibility for workers with personal leave needs,” Biggert said in a speech to announce the upcoming introduction of the bill. “‘Family time’ will provide a powerful new tool to help working women balance the needs of their career and family.”

“Congress should remove obstacles in federal law that prevent many employers from providing workers increased flexibility to balance the needs of work and family,” said Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio). “The Family Time Flexibility Act is pro-family, pro-worker legislation that gives workers the flexibility to spend time with family, attend teacher conferences, extend maternity and paternity leave, or other family needs that may arise.”