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Legislative Updates

Overtime rules bill passes House

In a vote largely along party lines, 229-197, the House of Representatives passed the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180).

Introduced by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), H.R. 1180 seeks to adjust the rules governing private-sector workers’ overtime pay. While the bill passed the House, it is expected to struggle in the Senate because of the required 60 votes for passage there.

Supporters of the measure claim that it would improve workers’ flexibility and would offer them access to paid time off. However, the bill provides for no paid annual or sick leave and no flexible scheduling, and it completely disregards the Fair Labor Standards Act and 40-hour work week by seeking to allow employers to refuse to pay for overtime when overtime hours are worked.

While the language in the bill does not call for eliminating overtime pay, it does encourage the use of compensatory time, significantly weakening the overtime pay option, which only hurts workers who rely on overtime pay when they exceed a 40-hour work week.

 “This is nothing but a recycled bad bill that would allow big corporations to make an end-run around giving workers the pay they’ve earned,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “That’s wrong, and it’s the opposite of what President Trump said he’d do on the campaign trail when he promised to put workers first.”

The bill “would end overtime pay as American workers know it,” said House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “Instead of requiring employers to provide their workers with overtime pay when they earn it—as is currently the rule—their legislation would allow employers to replace overtime pay with compensatory time as they see fit.”

While this legislation would not directly affect NALC members, the union will closely monitor it and any other legislation that is considered harmful to working families.

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