Congressman Goodlatte has signed on as a cosponsor of the Working Families Flexibility Act (HR 1180), introduced in February by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), which would erode overtime protections for American workers.
The Economic Policy Institute reports:
The Working Families Flexibility Act would amend the [Fair Labor Standards Act] to allow private-sector employers to “compensate” hourly workers with compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay. Contrary to proponents’ claims, the bill does not create employee rights, it takes them away. It does create a new employer right—the right to delay paying any wages for overtime work for as long as 13 months. The legislation forces workers to compromise their paychecks for the possibility—but not the guarantee—that they will get time off from work when they need it.
The Working Families Flexibility Act would result in less money in employees’ paychecks, even when they do work overtime. Many employees rely on overtime pay to earn enough money to make ends meet every month—but this bill would allow employers to avoid paying overtime premiums when employees work extra hours, by giving them “comp time” to bank for future use instead. This means employees will still be working longer hours, but they will be receiving less in their paychecks at the time they work the longer hours. They will essentially be loaning their employer their overtime pay (at no interest) for as long as 13 months.
Under the legislation, an employee may decline to accept comp time in lieu of overtime. It follows that employers will assign overtime preferentially to those who accept comp time, thereby depriving the workers who need the extra cash of opportunities for overtime work. So, not only will the employees who receive comp time instead of overtime pay earn less, so will the employees who refuse comp time and insist on being paid overtime pay.
At no risk to the employee, the FLSA already allows an employer to grant time off to employees who work overtime. H.R. 1180 adds nothing but delay and risk to the employees’ right to receive extra compensation when they work more than 40 hours in a week.
Goodlatte’s pattern of voting almost exclusively for the interests of employers over those of employees is reflected in his legislative record between 1993 and 2015, when only 9 percent of his votes supported workers and their families.