Overtime pay or a day off? New bill could change how employers compensate workers


Do you get paid overtime for work? That could change if a House of Representatives bill garners support.

The House just passed the measure, backed by Republicans, that would let employers offer workers paid time off instead of time-and-a-half pay.

The legislation called the Working Families Flexibility Act is being pushed forward as a way to lower cost expenses for employers, while giving a paid comp day to employees who may want to spend more time at home.

"I think it says it right in the name. It's about employees having the ability to work with their employers to come up with a system that makes the most sense for them," says Alex Halper with the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

Those in opposition of the bill say it gives employers too much power, letting them control when the comp time can be used.

"It allows an employer the option not to pay you. So it comes back to that it's certainly good for employers because they are going to have more profits because they're paying less. But it's bad for workers, in general, because they have less income," says Labor Economist Mark Price at the Keystone Research Center.

The vote in the House was mainly along party lines, and some legislators say it's taking away money from those who really need it.

"For a lot of folks, overtime is how they make ends meet. Sometimes it's to make a big purchase like fixing the roof or getting the car fixed. This is a provision that really takes away that sort of key income for a lot of workers," Price adds.

Halper believes the pay scale shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all statute.

"As our workforce evolves, I think it's clear that having some flexibility for the employee to say right now it's more important for me to have some time off," he says.

The bill is heading to the U.S. Senate next. President Trump has said he supports the legislation.

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