H.R. 1180 amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to give private-sector employees the option of selecting compensatory time off in lieu of cash for overtime wages. An employee will be able to choose, based upon a voluntary agreement with his or her employer, to have his or her overtime compensated with paid time off. This option has been available for federal, state, and local governments for many years.
The legislation does not change the 40-hour work week and does not change the rate of compensation of non-exempt employees. The legislation provides employees strong protections against the coercive use of compensatory time. For example, the arrangement must be an expressly mutual agreement between employee and employer, and may not be a condition of employment. To be eligible, an employee must have worked at least 1,000 hours in a period of continuous employment with the employer during the preceding 12-month period and an agreement must be affirmed by a written or otherwise verifiable statement.
An employee can accrue up to 160 hours of compensatory time each year and any unused time must be paid out at the end of the year or at the end of employment with the employer.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 2, 2017.
(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the House on May 2, 2017. The summary of that version is repeated here.)
Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017
(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to authorize employers to provide compensatory time off to private employees at a rate of not less than 1 1/2 hours for each hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required, but only if it is in accordance with an applicable collective bargaining agreement or, in the absence of such an agreement, an agreement between the employer and employee.
The bill prohibits an employee from accruing more than 160 hours of compensatory time. An employer must provide monetary compensation for any unused compensatory time off accrued during the preceding year.
The bill requires an employer to give employees 30-day notice before discontinuing compensatory time off.
The bill prohibits an employer from intimidating, threatening, or coercing an employee in order to: (1) interfere with the employee's right to request or not to request compensatory time off in lieu of payment of monetary overtime compensation, or (2) require an employee to use such compensatory time.
(Sec. 3) The bill makes an employer who violates such requirements liable to the affected employee in the amount of the compensation rate for each hour of compensatory time accrued, plus an additional equal amount as liquidated damages, reduced for each hour of compensatory time used.
(Sec. 5) The Government Accountability Office must report to Congress on: (1) the extent to which employers provide compensatory time off and employees opt to receive it; (2) the number of complaints filed by employees with the Department of Labor alleging a violation of such requirements and the number of enforcement actions commenced by Labor on behalf of aggrieved employees; (3) the disposition of such complaints and actions; and (4) any unpaid wages, damages, penalties, injunctive relief, or other remedies sought by Labor in connection with such actions.