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Congressman Bobby Scott

Representing the 3rd District of Virginia

WORKING FAMILIES FLEXIBILITY ACT OF 2017

May 2, 2017
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 3 minutes.

   Mr. Speaker, under current law, if an employee wants to work overtime, put the money in the bank where it can earn interest, and use it to cover the cost of taking some time off later with the permission of the employer, he can do that today without this bill.

   But under H.R. 1180, instead of getting paid for overtime work in the next scheduled paycheck, the employee might not get paid until as much as a year later, when his employer decides to let him take that comp time.

   This legislation simply weakens the protections available in the Fair Labor Standards Act--the original family-friendly workplace law--at the very moment that we really ought to be strengthening the law.

   Under H.R. 1180, it would be legal to withhold workers' overtime pay for a long time. This would be otherwise a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

   The bill would allow you to undermine the 40-hour workweek by creating a mechanism that allows employees to earn time off to be with their families only if they spend extra time at work beyond a 40-hour workweek.

   It undermines a worker's ability to earn overtime pay, which many workers rely on to send their children to college, save for retirement, or make a down payment on a house.

   Because the legislation makes it cheaper for employers to assign overtime to employees who agree to accept comp time instead of actual cash wages, this legislation makes it extremely likely that the only employees who will be asked to work overtime are those who agree to get comp time instead of actual time and a half paid cash.

   Furthermore, the legislation creates significant uncertainty for workers. An employer could decide that an employee cannot take comp time on the dates requested because the employer said it would be an undue disruption to business operations.

   My Democratic colleagues and I are working on a Working Families Agenda with real solutions that would boost wages for working people and help them balance work and family life. An employee should be able to earn time off without sacrificing overtime pay. This is exactly what the Healthy Families Act would do. It would allow workers to earn up to 7 paid sick days.

   Finally, Mr. Speaker, 92 groups that actually represent working people sent a letter urging the Committee on Education and the Workforce to oppose the legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.