Congress Thinks About Doing Away with Mandatory Overtime Payments

by Evil HR Lady on April 18, 2017

Right now, if a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours in a week (or more than 8 hours in one day, in California) you have to pay them time and a half for the extra hours. So, if an employee earns $10 an hour and works, 45 hours in one week, she receives $400 ($10×40) in straight time and $75 ($15×5) in overtime pay.

But what if she would prefer to take “comp” time instead? That is, if she worked 45 hours this week, she’d prefer to work 35 hours next week and take home $800. Right now, in the private sector, this is illegal.

Congress is looking to change this. Comp time has long been allowed by federal employees (because congress always likes to exempt itself from the rules).

Representative Marth Roby (R-AL) introduced the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 which allows for comp time in the private sector, but with a couple of twists.

To keep reading, click here: Congress Thinks About Doing Away with Mandatory Overtime Payments

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria Rose April 18, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Comp time is great as long as both the employee and employer gets to both agree to it and choose how and when this will occur. ( working extra during key busy weeks and taking the comp time during non- busy key weeks). This way, no one is abusing the other, But, too often, someone takes advantage and uses comp time at inappropriate times–i.e. Key busy times claiming personal need. If the problematic situation is discussed and agreed ahead of time, no one should be taken advantage of., by putting this agreement down in writing.

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Elizabeth West April 18, 2017 at 4:21 pm

On its face, this seems like a decent proposition. However, I’m probably going to be suspicious until I see whether this is set up to favor the employer.

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Rebecca April 24, 2017 at 12:30 am

I totally agree with you. I would love to kick out early on a slow Friday afternoon, and then work a few hours the next week to even it all out, but it’s not legal for me to do that.

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Katie April 18, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Yeah, I’m getting hung up on the “agreement” part of it. I can see employers using the imbalance of power in the working relationship to pressure employees to take comp time because they don’t want to pay OT. Or pressuring the other way if that suits them more.

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Goober April 19, 2017 at 12:49 am

When the comp time is at time and a half – 90 minutes for every hour worked – there’s very little incentive to force it on employees. Especially when it has to be paid out at the end of the year (at overtime rates).

Either side can abuse it, in much the same ways that either side can abuse any other policy, but this really doesn’t look like a bad deal for employees or employers.

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Tana April 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm

The bigger problem I see is A: there are a tonne of places that give scads of holiday time and never let anyone take it, or have cultures that severely punish people who do. How are they going to work this so that people who get comp time actually take it. Also are they going to be required to pay it out at the end? This isn’t holiday pay, this is time they earned by working.

I cannot see this ending well for employees.

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JBJ April 18, 2017 at 10:12 pm

The article states the comp time must be paid out as overtime if it is not used by the end of the calendar year.

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Slippy April 20, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Sure but the employee is forced to track and account for their OT hours for many weeks if not months on end instead of a couple of weeks. More time to forget or lose track and allow employers to fudge the numbers. Also can employers dock a salaried employee’s OT bank if they come in late one day? In addition, depending on how these carried OT days are defined (wage vs benefit) it may result in a massive tax break for businesses.

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Kobayashi April 24, 2017 at 7:33 pm

Employees don’t have to track it just like they don’t have to track their current overtime. The employer does that with the time clock. There’s no difference.

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Chuchundra April 21, 2017 at 12:37 am

So, in other words, employees get to give their employers an interest-free loan until the end of the year.

Yes, I can’t see how that would be abused.

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Kobayashi April 24, 2017 at 7:34 pm

I, for one, would LOVE to be able to use comp time. I’ve always thought it is stupid that the law says I can’t. If I want to work a couple of extra hours one day so I can have a couple of hours at home another day to wait for the cable person, why can’t I do that? I’m an adult, not a toddler. Treat me like an adult.

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Slippy April 18, 2017 at 10:56 pm

So how will #1 be enforced if your boss walks up and tells you verbally that you will be fired if you don’t agree to waive the overtime?

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Stephanie April 19, 2017 at 12:19 am

The same way all wage/hour complaints would be handled: DOL complaint.

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Jeff April 19, 2017 at 9:12 am

Problem is, in the meantime you’re still out on the street and out of a job while the DOL complaint works its way through the bureaucracy.

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Goober April 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm

But that’s true under existing rules, if your boss says “clock out and keep working or you’re fired.” That’s exactly as illegal as any abuse of this new policy, and will be abused in exactly the same way by exactly the same people.

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Slippy April 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm

It will be substantially easier to fake a non-standard consent form than modify time-keeping software. Most time-keeping software has a ton of auditing functionality so it leaves a trail. Anyone can whip a form with a signature giving consent in about 30 minutes in Microsoft word. Then the onus is on the employee to prove the document is faked.

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Kobayashi April 24, 2017 at 7:36 pm

No, it isn’t. All one has to do is just CLOCK OUT and keep working. There are few systems to actually monitor that in most industries.

Burnout April 19, 2017 at 4:22 pm

I’d rather just get paid for my work. It’s cleaner and there’s less opportunity to fudge one way or the other.

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Glenn April 19, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Evil HR Lady? INHUMAN Resources? LOL

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Jeanne April 20, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Oh sure, this will go well. There was recently a statement I heard that during the WPA people took the jobs and got to work, they didn’t ask what they would be paid first. The administration wants to roll back all worker protections. Keep overtime pay!

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