April 28, 2017
In a party-line vote this week, the House Education and Workforce Committee approved the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180), which would allow private-sector employers to offer compensatory time off instead of overtime wages for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week, subject to certain restrictions that do not apply to the public sector. The comp time bill could be brought to the House floor for a vote in the next two weeks. It enables employers to voluntarily create a comp time program and allows workers to voluntarily enter into an agreement with their employer to earn up to 160 hours of compensatory time that can be used generally at the discretion of the worker. According to Rep. Byrne: "All we are trying to do is give workers a choice. Policies written in the 1930s that are out of step with the needs of the 21st-century workforce shouldn't stand in the way of flexibility for workers and their families." Meanwhile, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the "Raise the Wage Act," which would increase the federal minimum wage in eight steps to $15 an hour by 2024, and subsequently index it to median wage growth. According to Sen. Sanders, the bill would increase employers’ payroll costs by $144 billion in 2024 and restore the minimum wage to its peak 1968 levels when adjusted for inflation. Although the minimum wage bill has very little chance of advancing in the Republican-controlled Congress, there is a good chance the comp time bill could pass this year.