GOP Targets Women With Ads For Bill That Would Weaken Overtime Pay

— by Bryce Covert on Apr 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

In a bid for women’s support and votes, the GOP launched an aggressive ad campaign on “mommy blogs” on Tuesday. The ads will tout its deceptively titled Working Families Flexibility Act that would weaken overtime pay laws:

The banner ads will be featured on over 100 websites popular among women and geo-targeted to be viewed by residents in 20 Democratic-held congressional districts targeted by the GOP for 2014. […]

The $20,000 ad buy, running on sites including and through Friday, will call on Democrats to vote with House Republicans next week on a bill to give hourly private sector workers more flexibility to choose between compensatory time and cash payment for overtime work.

“Tell Rep. Kyrsten Sinema you shouldn’t have to choose between work and family,” reads one ad set to run in Sinema’s suburban Phoenix district. “Will Rep. Collin Peterson stand up for working moms?” reads another that’s slated to run in Peterson’s western Minnesota district. The banner ads link to a petition site calling on lawmakers to support “more freedom for working moms.”

There’s no doubt that many Americans are overworked and in need of policies that better allow them to balance their families and their jobs. But the GOP’s solution is not much of a solution at all. Rather than giving workers the ability to accrue paid leave through regular working hours, it would instead allow workers and employers to trade traditional time-and-a-half pay for overtime hours for compensatory time off.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) currently requires overtime for work over 40 hours, providing a disincentive to push employees to work long hours, which could diminish if they can offer comp time offered instead. The current law is also already difficult to enforce, as many workers claim they are denied time-and-a-half pay, and some employers may force their employees to use comp time instead. On top of all of this, employers may be able to deny requests to use comp time if they can claim it “unduly disrupts the operations of the employer” or that the request didn’t come in “within a reasonable period.”

There are other policies that Republicans could focus on if they are interested in promoting family friendly work solutions: They could support paid family and medical leave (currently only guaranteed as unpaid leave), paid sick days, and protections for workers who request flexible working conditions.

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

H.R. 1406: Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013

Sponsor:  Rep. Martha Roby [R-AL2]


The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 –

  1. Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to authorize private employers to provide compensatory time off to private employees at a rate of 1 1/2 hours per hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required.
  2. Authorizes an employer to provide compensatory time 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.
  3. Prohibits an employee from accruing more than 160 hours of compensatory time.
  4. Requires an employee’s employer to provide monetary compensation, after the end of a calendar year, for any unused compensatory time off accrued during the preceding year.
  5. Requires an employer to give employees 30-day notice before discontinuing compensatory time off.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Section 5 of this bill specifies that it will “sunset” or in other words, “expire” in a mere 5 years after the date of enactment.  If this is such a great idea, why are they proposing to spend a lot of money to jump through all the administrative hoops, just to do it for a very short period of time?  It’s like a monumental tease, something designed to rope you in, just before they pull the rug out from under your feet.