GOP proposes swapping overtime for vacation

House Republicans say the move would give state and federal employees more flexibility. Opponents say it's just another way to cut paychecks.

By Jason Notte May 6, 2013 12:52PM
Beach (© Corbis)Republicans in the House of Representatives say they want to fix overtime pay for federal and state employees. It's just not clear what about that pay system is broken.

The GOP is pushing legislation that the Associated Press says would allow employees who work more than 40 hours a week the option of taking paid time off instead of overtime pay. It seems fairly straightforward on paper, and such a policy has existed in the private sector for years. But it's also a means of cutting into workers' compensation and lining state and federal coffers, according to the bill's opponents.

The new legislation takes dead aim at the at the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which requires covered employees to receive time-and-a-half pay for every hour over 40 within a work week. The proposal would reduce that take to straight-time comp days.

The bill would allow workers to bank up to 160 hours, or four weeks, of comp time per year that could be used to take time off for any reason. It would let an employee decide to cash out comp time, and it forbids employers from coercing workers to take comp time instead of cash.

Still, Democrats say the bill doesn't guarantee that workers would be able to take the time off when they want. It also gives employers the final say on comp-time requests, which could make that time difficult to cash in. Also, the bill's opponents argue that allowing workers to bank their leave time essentially gives employers an interest-free loan from employees.

Also, opponents are aware that Republicans and members of the business community have been trying this route around the Fair Labor Standards Act since the 1990s and have been shot down at every turn. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has reintroduced the measure as part of a bid to woo working families, but worker advocates say those same families should be wary of the bill's budget-sheet origins.

Judith Lichtman, a senior adviser for the National Partnership for Women and Families, told the AP that the program was created in the public sector in 1985 as a cost-cutting measure that has since been framed as an option to provide workers greater flexibility. As she notes, many workers in federal and state government are unionized or have civil-service protections that give them more leverage in dealing with supervisors.

The banked-time plan took hold in the private sector largely because similar worker protections don't exist there.

More on moneyNOW

May 6, 2013 1:42PM
Figures anything to screw the working person . Yo GOP we need the money A$$HOLEs...BTW any comp time is MINE not the companies , once more trying to tell me again what and how to live my life! Yo GOP why dont you people in the senate and house cut your pay and benefits retirements from top to bottom and then come see the American people idiots...
May 6, 2013 1:51PM
It would be a great deal if, the comp time is at 1.5 times the over time hours worked, i.e., 8 hours of banked overtime = 12 hours comp time. Time sold back to the company is at 1.5 times hourly rate. That would be a truly flexible plan.
May 6, 2013 3:14PM
What a great idea for all CEO's. this would rake in million$ more.

Next up...reinstate child labor.
May 6, 2013 3:05PM
Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, I didn't even know about that...we always had to work 60 to 80 hours a week in the field for our regular base salary. Did this for years and years in the 90's and 2000's. I just want to see the work load "shared", many are busting their butts while many can't get any opportunities to work. I would love to work just a 40 hour week and get paid 40 hours...that's all I'm asking for. Why was I "having" to work 70 hours a week for 40 hours of pay? Where was that 1938 fair labor act. They pay you "Salary" and you're OWNED...working weekends.
May 6, 2013 3:00PM

Did you see the article where North Korean workers were being paid overtime in Choco Pies? That will be the GOP's next tactic! Especially when demand outstrips supply and the Choco Pie Panic hits the USA!


So GOP what happened to smaller government and hands off telling the private sector what they can/can't do? If a company wants to institute comp time instead of overtime there is a legal way to do that now. Better still just call them salary then you don't owe them either right?


Bad enough to try to legislate morality but to try and legislate deceit is another thing enitirely. Disgusting.

May 6, 2013 2:36PM
Another stupid idea from the Republican't to ruin the average American lives. Nowadays, people need money idiots! Any GREEDy company will only force the people take their times off when it is slow for them in the company's favor.   It will be like open the company for two weeks then close one week when it is slow. How about keep the law the same but the employees has the option to trade in with time off or equal to 1.5 times off later if you are the government for the people.

May 6, 2013 4:17PM
 The problem is the employee will not really get to choose, no matter what the regulation says. They will be pressured to work when the employer needs it and forced to take compensating time off at inopportune times.

If House Republicans were willing to subject themselves to the plan, and to work more than 20 hours a week (at most!) maybe we could consider the possibility that this wasn't just another scheme to balance the budget on the backs of Democratic constituencies to finance the advantages of the .001%.
May 6, 2013 5:03PM

You people wanted non-union labor and jobs...


And then you started letting States, pass right to work laws....


Now you have it, good for you.

Now just watch how long it takes you to get minium wage up to $8 or 9 bucks an hour...

And make sure and go to the Polls and elect your favorite Repubian...They will help you.

Yup the "New World Order" of wage controls and Equal Opportunity for All..

Safety Standards will be next...

May 6, 2013 4:47PM
Screw the working class they don't need any hope!  Go Republicans !  Straight to hell !
May 6, 2013 2:30PM
I believe this is a good thing as long as the employee gets to choose.  Usually, overtime get's over taxed, so in many cases comp time can actually be more beneficial as long as the employee can take it when they need it and not when the employer demands it.
May 6, 2013 4:37PM

 This just smells.   How about amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to make it so any work or time off compensation for work over 40 hours is equated in double time.  This could possible create more jobs because the cost for overtime would be more than hiring.  It is an idea anyway.


 Side note:  with Obamacare we may see lower skilled workers working 2 jobs at 20 to 30 hours each so companies can avoid health care costs.   We also may see companies splitting up into smaller independent segments to avoid the 50 employee cutoff.  Who knows for sure.


 On the other hand, some companies who have less than good employee relationships may find it hard to hold good workers if the only reason a worker is staying put is insurance benefits. 


  2014 will be interesting in the labor market.

May 6, 2013 8:02PM
You low information non-thinkers will one day wake up to the fact that we live in a competitive world and all the employee "rights" you can conjure don't mean a damn for a person without a job.
May 6, 2013 6:10PM
It looks like a lot of commenters here saw "GOP proposes" and immediately starting raging against this, or just didn't read the whole article.  The article says the legislation "would ALLOW employees who work more than 40 hours a week THE OPTION of taking paid time off instead of overtime pay. . . . It would LET AN EMPLOYEE DECIDE to cash out comp time, and it FORBIDS EMPLOYERS FROM COERCING workers to take comp time instead of cash."  Those are direct cut/paste from above (with my caps added).  Yes, some people would rather have the money, but some might want more vacation, and this would give them the option.  And if they can't use the vacation, they cash it out.  Why is that bad?  I've been wishing my employer would allow us to cash out our vacation for quite awhile now.
May 6, 2013 4:21PM
" a means of lining state and federal coffers" , really? I heard those where empty and that state and federal government are running in nothing but red ink. Sounds more like a "too late" effort to control spending than a greedy grab at government employee's paychecks. Maybe the y prefer some lose their jobs...?
May 6, 2013 8:18PM
Ruck Fepublicans and their corporate bosses.
May 6, 2013 7:22PM
Folks read and understood the article just fine. Folks also know that Corporations will strongly suggest you do certain thing or risk losing your job. This overtime thing is just another ploy for Corporations to weaken the already weaken workers. Ever heard of the Death of a thousand Cuts. This is just one more cut.
I want to know who this great republican that comes up with all these terrific ideas is.  You know, the ones that keep some American half wits happy and fooled, and the ones that if you look half way sideways at them you realize you're getting screwed.........again!  Unless of course you're rich already and the republican candidates are lined up on their knees to give you a big wet one.
May 6, 2013 5:50PM
Well it's not like we didn't see this coming. How many folks are being forced to schedule their entire vacation time, before they even know, where or even if they intend to go somewhere. Now they want to take away overtime. This has been a ongoing fight by the GOP against workers. They fought against paying a living WAGE and they are going to fight against you until all jobs have been outsourced.
May 6, 2013 11:06PM
"low information non-thinkers" ?  And this is coming from who or what ??
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