Here’s What You Should Know About the Overtime Bill That Passed the House

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The U.S. House of Representative just passed a bill that could change the way employers compensate workers who work overtime.

The Republican-backed Working Families Flexibility Act would allow companies to give workers extra time off at their regular pay rate instead of paying employees time-and-a-half for any extra hours they work.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington lauded the bill, saying, “I don’t think there’s anything more powerful than giving [families] more control over their time so that they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”

*Record scratch*

Not so fast, politicians.

This bill isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute told The American Prospect, “Literally, this is a complete and total fraud.”

Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland says, “This legislation effectively devalues what workers can earn for the extra hours they work, undermining the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

The Problem With the Working Families Flexibility Act

On the surface, getting paid time off in exchange for working overtime sounds like a good deal. However, while some workers may prefer it to other forms of compensation, others could really get the shaft.

In fact, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, most employers aren’t allowed to offer compensatory time — or comp time — in lieu of overtime pay.

One-third of businesses do it anyway.

That means employees who would rather bank the extra money they earn working overtime than get a few extra hours or days off are out of luck.

Furthermore, this bill fails to take into account that, because employers control employee schedules, workers can’t simply take whatever comp time works for them.

Instead, access to their overtime “compensation” is at the mercy of the employer.

Opponents say the bill purports to give families “more control over their time” but has no teeth to make sure the spirit of the law is actually applied.  

5 Benefits That are Better Than the Overtime Bill

If this bill does pass the Senate, employers may tout comp time as a benefit of working for their company.

But if that doesn’t impress you, here are five companies with benefits that may be of more value to you and your family.

1. Progressive Insurance offers workers on-site medical care, access to fitness centers and adoption assistance

2. Groupon gives employees unlimited vacation days

3. Apple’s AppleCare Advisors get deep product discounts (plus you get to work from home!)

4. Starbucks offers free college education through Arizona State University — even if you’re a part-time employee.

5. Etsy gives new moms and dads 26 weeks of paid parental leave

Your turn: Would you rather get time-and-a-half or comp time for working overtime?

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Until the day comes where she can be paid in White Castle sliders, she’ll take time-and-a-half, thanks.

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