Family Time Bill Heads for Full House

April 9, 2003 ( - The US House of Representatives Education & the Workforce Committee approved the Family Time Flexibility Act (HR 1119), that would allow private sector workers to trade overtime hours worked for comp time.

>The bill, introduced by Representative Judy Biggert (R-Illinois), now moves on to the full House. “Many employers and employees alike want to have this option, but the federal government won’t let them have it,” Biggert said in a statement.  “The public sector has had the option for years.  Yet the law governing the private sector has been frozen for more than 60 years, locked in a time when women worked in the home, most families had only one wage earner, and nobody went to kids’ soccer games.  Times have changed, families have changed, the workplace has changed.  Yet the law has not changed.”

HR 1119 amends the Depression-era Fair Labor Standards Act, enacted in 1938 by allowing workers, through a voluntary agreement with their employers, to choose paid time off as compensation for working overtime hours.  The legislation includes protections to prevent employers from coercing workers into accruing or using comp time rather than cash overtime, just like in current overtime law.  If the employer and the employee (or, in union shops, the union) agree, employees can begin banking up to 160 hours of paid time off, to use at the worker’s discretion.  The employee is entitled to cancel the arrangement at any time.

The legislation has 79 cosponsors.