NAICU Washington Update

House Passes “Comp Time” Bill

May 04, 2017

The House passed legislation allowing private sector employers – including private, nonprofit colleges and universities – to offer the option of compensatory (or “comp”) time or overtime pay to non-exempt employees who work over 40 hours per week.  Public sector employers – including public colleges and universities – have been able to offer this choice to employees since 1986.

The “Working Families Flexibility Act,” sponsored by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), passed the House 229-197 largely along party lines.  Republican supporters see the legislation as allowing employees more options, including the option to spend more time with their families.  They also cite the issue of fairness among employers, since public sector employers and their employees have had this option for decades.  Opponents of the legislation feel that workers who need the overtime pay will feel pressured by their employers to accept comp time instead.

The legislation took on added importance for private, nonprofit colleges after the regulations on overtime rules were made final.  Had those rules been implemented, they would have more than doubled the minimum salary that employees can earn and be considered for an exemption from overtime pay.  While this bill would provide private college employees more flexibility, the decision to take overtime pay or compensatory time still rests with the employee and not the employer.

Similar legislation has passed the House three different times, most recently in 2013, before stalling in the Senate.  While Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) plans to push a companion bill in the Senate, its ultimate success would require the support of eight Democrats to avoid a filibuster.  It’s not currently clear how high of a priority Senate leadership will make this measure.

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