Bill could give families more time together

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, October 31, 2013

A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) could grant people the option to receive paid time off for overtime hours worked.

The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 passed by the House in May now has Senate companion bills.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the “Family Friendly and Workplace Flexibility Act” and spoke in support of the bill on the Senate floor Thursday.

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Roby said she was pleased to see the Senate taking up the bill that could help working parents spend more time with their families.

“Talk to just about any working mom and dad and they’ll tell you they need more time,” Roby said. “They need just one more hour in the day to be able to take care of responsibilities and make life work. We can’t legislate another hour in the day, but we can help working Americans better balance their time by removing unnecessary federal restrictions on comp time in the private sector.”

As passed by the House, the bill would allow a working mom or dad to use an hour of overtime he or she earned as paid “time and a half” off work instead of “time and a half” cash, if that’s what they would rather have. The “comp time” option is legal and commonly used in the public sector thanks to a 1985 revision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, but remains restricted by federal law for private businesses and their employees.

Under the bill, no worker could be forced to take time off, just like no business owner could be forced to offer it.