U.S. House Member Proposes PTO as Overtime Wages

May 15, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A Washington state Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a measure allowing workers to opt for paid time off as compensation for overtime hours.

A news release from the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee said Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ bill, The Family-Friendly Workplace Act, includes prohibitions against employers forcing employees to take paid time off instead of regular wages.

According to the announcement, the bill provides that:

  • The choice of whether and when to use the leave would be made by the employee; employees may withdraw from a compensatory time agreement with an employer at any time;
  • Participation in a comp time program rather than receipt of cash wages cannot be made a condition of employment; and
  • Employees may request, in writing, at any time, to be paid cash wages for accrued, unused compensatory time and employers must provide cash wages within 30 days of the request.

The measure does away with the prohibition in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from private sector employers from offering the time off instead of overtime wages.

“Time is one of our most precious resources. We all want more of it and yet we only have 24 hours in a day. That means we have to figure out how to work a full day, run errands, pack lunches, make dinner and spend quality time with our kids, spouse, or elderly parent,” said McMorris Rodgers, in the announcement. “Giving employees more flexibility in their workweek is key to increasing retention as well as attracting great employees that will help increase our country’s competitiveness.”

More information is at http://republicans.edlabor.house.gov/showissue.aspx?IID=21 .