U.S. House passes bill to substitute comp time for overtime pay

On May 2, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow private-sector employers to give their employees the choice of receiving paid time off instead of monetary compensation for hours worked over 40 per workweek. In a Q&A with The Oklahoman, labor and employment attorney Paige Hoster Good reviewed the highlights of the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 and explained how it would impact both employers and employees.

“This bill provides employers the option to offer compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay in accordance with its specific provisions,” said Good. “Moreover, except where a collective bargaining agreement provides otherwise, an employer that has adopted a policy offering compensatory time to employees may discontinue such policy upon giving its employees 30 days notice.”

She added that employees who are offered the option may still choose to receive overtime pay, as the bill prohibits employers from coercing their employees to accept comp time.

As written in H.R. 1180, eligible employees would be allowed to accrue up to 160 hours of compensatory time, and any unused time would be converted into monetary compensation.

While previous attempts to pass similar bills have not made it through the U.S. Senate, Good said employers would be wise to track its progress because it could significantly change the way employers handle overtime compensation in the future.