Misnamed Workplace Flexibility Bill is a ‘Sham That Would Give Employers More Control Over People’s Time and Money,’ Women’s Leader Says

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“Members of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce who voted today to advance the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180/S.801), or ‘comp time’ bill, and to reject amendments that would have improved the proposal, voted against workers. Despite the bill’s misleading name, it would offer working people less flexibility, less pay and less time. Quite simply, the bill is a sham that would give employers more control over people’s time and money. America’s families will not be fooled by this empty promise and neither should any member of Congress. The House must reject this bill.

The Working Families Flexibility Act sets up a false and dangerous choice between overtime pay now and time off in the future for people who work more than 40 hours in a week. In reality, employers would gain the right to hold onto hard-earned overtime wages for months at a time without providing their employees with time off on the days they need or have planned for – even in the case of a family or medical emergency. Many companies may do the right thing, but this bill would give all employers a license to demand extra hours and deny people control over their schedules. And to make matters worse, the committee today rejected amendments that would have added protections against employer abuse and required employers that offer comp time to provide certain paid sick time and fair wage guarantees.

At a time when meaningful policy solutions are critical, members of the House must see the Working Families Flexibility Act for what it is: smoke-and-mirrors legislation that would do much more harm than good. Congress should instead prioritize higher wages and truly family friendly measures, such as paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, fair pay and schedules, and protections for pregnant workers. These are the kind of tested, common sense proposals that would actually enable people to care and provide for themselves and their families while boosting businesses and our economy.”

NOTE: On April 5, National Partnership Vice President Vicki Shabo testified before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections in opposition to H.R. 1180. Her written testimony is available here.

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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