Important Overtime Payment Changes

Important Overtime Payment Changes

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Republicans passing a ‘Bill’ that will not pay workers for overtime

President Trump during his campaign made a promise to all who voted for him- that he would make ‘America Great.’ Well, the latest bill the Republicans are hoping to pass is going to take many Americans down a notch. The Republicans have just finished passing a bill that will offer all working Americans more job flexibility in terms of time-off work, but the Democrats argue that this is just one another way that the Republicans are trying to ‘burn’ the average American worker. Instead of the workers getting paid for their overtime, they will instead be given time off work.

The House of Representative just passed the Working Families Flexibility Act this past week stating that it will be a major win for workers who may want to take paid time off instead of getting money for the extra work they put in overtime. The Bill just passed in the House recently chiefly due to the Republican vote. However, all Democrats and six Republicans did vote against it. If the Working Families Flexibility Act eventually makes it through the Senate and gets signed into law, this will not be good news for the workers. The law would then allow the employer to give the employee paid time off work in lieu of the one and a half time for working above the 40-hour week.

The White House, not surprisingly, has put out a short statement supporting the Bill, stating that this Act will offer private sector employees the same choices as those in the public sector. The White House report states that this Bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act, which does not permit private sector employers to offer their employees paid time off instead of any cash payment for their overtime. The White House statement went on to add that this Bill will help American workers appropriately balance their family life and work by having the option of earning paid time off- a time period which they will be able to use later for any reason.

However, critics of the Bill do point out the wording in the Act does prevent employers from forcing employees to take the paid days off instead of the money- but it also permits the employer to rescind the paid day off offer at will.

Under the Bill passed by the House of Representatives, employers will be able to decide at will to take back any banked time from a worker and pay them overtime instead- and then the employer will have up to 4 weeks to cut the check. The way the Bill is set up leaves everything to the employer as to when the worker can use up his or her accrued paid time off.

However, this is by no means a done deal because the Senate Democrats have vowed to follow and vote against the measure. As expected, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) wasn’t happy and stated that the Bill was a shame for the American people. She went on to state that working class Americans are struggling to make ends meet and by taking away their overtime money, it will leave them in bigger financial distress. She also stated that the job of the Congress is to toughen protection for workers not make then poor. Sentiments by the rest of the Democrats are similar to those voiced by Elizabeth Warren. The consensus among democrats is that this Bill now makes it legal for employers to cheat their employees out of overtime pay. Republicans, on the other hand, argue that this Bill will give workers more ability to make decisions about their days off, which is far more important than money.

When the Bill comes to the Senate, Republicans, who currently hold 52 seats in the upper chamber, will need at least eight Democrats to support this Bill, to avoid a filibuster.

This Bill is nothing new. Similar Bills by Republicans have been introduced in the past but each time they have never been successfully passed. Why the Republicans think it is okay not to pay workers overtime remains unanswered. Looks like the President’s slogan make ‘America Great’ should instead state make ‘America Poor.’

The legislation was sponsored in the house by US Rep Martha Roby (R-Ala) and in the senate by Rep Mike Lee from Utah.

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