Ayotte, McConnell, Isakson Reintroduce The Family Friendly And Workplace Flexibility Act
Bill Would Accommodate Voluntary Workplace Arrangements Such as Compensatory Time and Flexible Credit Hour Agreements
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), recently reintroduced the Workplace Flexibility Act, legislation which would allow voluntary workplace arrangements such as compensatory time and flexible credit hour agreements to be extended to hourly workers in the private sector.
“Working families in the private sector should have the same options to enter into the kind of flexible work arrangements that are currently available to public sector workers,” said Senator Ayotte. “This legislation would enable employees to work with their employers to enter into voluntary agreements that would allow greater flexibility for workers who are looking to better balance their work-life demands.”
“The Family Friendly and Workplace Flexibility Act will help provide America’s workers with the flexible work arrangements they need to better balance the demands of work and family. Countless Americans face the daily reality of having more to do with less time to do it, and though Congress can’t legislate another hour in the day we can provide working Americans with more options for how to organize their time,” Senator McConnell said. “I am proud to join Senators Ayotte and Isakson in sponsoring this legislation, and I thank them for their continued work to promote measures important to working families.”
"I am proud to support this legislation that will allow hardworking Americans the flexibility required today to meet the needs of family while also allowing them to adequately meet the needs of their employers," said Isakson, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. "The private sector should provide working families the ability to enjoy the fair and common-sense flexibility that is already available in the public sector."
Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits employers from offering compensatory time, or “comp time,” to their hourly employees. By contrast, federal employees are eligible to receive comp time. The bill would amend the FLSA to allow private employers to offer comp time to employees at a rate of one-and-one-half hours for every hour of overtime work. A completely voluntary process, an employee could still choose to receive monetary payments as their overtime compensation. This bill simply allows the option for employees to instead choose paid time off for overtime work.
The bill also institutes a flexible credit-hour program, under which the employer and employee can enter into agreements that allow the employee to work excess hours beyond the typical number of hours he or she is typically required to work in order to accrue hours to be taken off at a later time. This option is for employees who do not get the opportunity to work overtime, but still want a way to build up hours to use as paid leave.
Like comp time, the flex time option is voluntary and may not affect collective bargaining agreements that are in place. Under this legislation, employers would not be mandated to offer the flexible workplace arrangements, just as employees are not mandated to choose these benefits rather than direct compensation for overtime work. The bill explicitly prohibits employers from coercing their employees to enter into a comp time or flex time arrangement.
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