Compensatory Time Bill Introduced in the US House

March 6, 2003 ( - Legislation that would give private-sector workers the right to voluntarily choose paid time off instead of overtime has been introduced in the US House of Representatives.

Sponsoring the Family Time Flexibility Act is Representative Judy Biggert (R-Illinois) along with more than 65 co-sponsors, according to an Education & the Workforce Committee announcement. The Democratic sponsors include Representatives William Lipinski (D-Illinois) and Charles Stenholm (D-Texas).

“Today’s working women face the challenge of balancing the needs of family with the demands of work schedules,” said Biggert, Vice Chair of the Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.  “For far too many women, inflexible work schedules prevent them from addressing family emergencies, attending teacher conferences, and dealing with the many family needs that arise unexpectedly throughout the course of a typical month or year.  Family time will provide a powerful new tool to help working women balance the needs of their careers and families.”

Under the bill, if the employer and the employee agree, the employee has the option of banking up to 160 hours that he or she can use at a later time as paid time off. In a unionized environment, the union and the employer have to agree to allow the employee to start accruing overtime hours as compensatory time.

The bill allows an employee to cancel the agreement at any time and provides protection against employer coercion of employees to accrue or use comp time.  The Family Time Flexibility Act amends the depression-era Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), enacted in 1938, when very few women worked outside of the home.