The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill this week that would allow private-sector employees to trade in overtime hours for unpaid time off.
The intention of H.R. 1406 is “to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide compensatory time for employees in the private sector,” according to the legislation.
In essence, the bill would offer employers the flexibility to decide whether to allow nonunion employees to trade overtime hours for time off. To receive the time off, an employee must put in a written request.
Called the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013” the bill says, “An employee may receive, in accordance with this subsection and in lieu of monetary overtime compensation, compensatory time off at a rate not less than one and one-half hours for each hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required by this section.”
The bill also says, “No employee may receive or agree to receive compensatory time off under this subsection unless the employee has worked at least 1,000 hours for the employee’s employer during a period of continuous employment with the employer in the 12-month period before the date of agreement or receipt of compensatory time off.”
Moreover, the bill states that an employee cannot accrue more than 160 hours of compensatory time.
The House-approved bill says, “No later than January 31 of each calendar year, the employee’s employer shall provide monetary compensation for any unused compensatory time off accrued during the preceding calendar year that was not used prior to December 31 of the preceding year …”
Moreover, the bill spells out that “the employer may provide monetary compensation for an employee’s unused compensatory time in excess of 80 hours at any time after giving the employee at least 30 days’ notice.”
If an employer decides to discontinue this policy, officials must give employees 30 days’ notice, the bill adds.
“An employee may also request in writing that monetary compensation be provided at any time for all compensatory time accrued that has not been used,” according to the bill. “Within 30 days of receiving the written request, the employer shall provide the employee the monetary compensation due.”
H.R. 1406 also includes a sunset clause, which means that if the bill is approved and enacted, it and the related amendments will expire within five years unless extended by Congress.