Skip to main content

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on the "Working Families Flexibility Act," a Republican bill which would allow employers to substitute comp time for overtime pay. Supposedly workers would have to agree to the substitution, but, as the Obama administration said in a veto threat, the bill "does not provide sufficient protections" for workers who want overtime pay rather than time off later—time off that the boss could refuse to allow at the time the worker wanted it.

A letter of opposition from the National Partnership for Women and Families and a long list of other organizations notes that the bill could hurt job creation "because it is cheaper to provide comp time than to pay overtime wages, there is a significant incentive for employers to hire fewer people and rely on overtime hours—paid for in future comp time—to get work done."

In short, the bill's name isn't wrong, exactly, in an Orwellian kind of way. It is about working families and flexibility. It's just that, in typical Republican fashion, the working families are the ones who have to flex to someone else's will, and the employers are the ones who get added power to require others to be flexible and reap the benefits themselves.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Not surprising (18+ / 0-)

    To be honest, Republicans would probably be happiest if we returned to slavery.  At least then they could have fixed costs.

    That's only semi-snark.

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:04:01 PM PDT

    •  Not snark at all. republicans miss slavery (7+ / 0-)

      there's little to add to that.

      it;s that basic and blatant.

      Only interests in 'bipartisanship' let intelligent people not notice or respond to that appropriately.

    •  debt slaves (7+ / 0-)

      they certainly prefer a system where employees are burdened by debt-home loans, student loans, medical bills, high insurance premiums, etc.-to the point that they are so fearful of losing their jobs and not being able to find another that they'll put up with anything that their employers demand.

    •  We're going in that direction... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cynndara, alice kleeman

      Companies have gone to other parts of the world where there are no labor safeguards in place and workers work long hours for very little pay. As we've seen in Bangladesh, they can be locked inside while working. Not unlike the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory where many women died because of the same conditions...conditions that led to unionization of American workers.
      But as long as human beings are so desperate that they will work for slave wages, and slave conditions, things here are only going to go in that direction.
      We have slavery just get to go home at night.

      Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

      by MA Liberal on Wed May 08, 2013 at 12:21:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Americans do love slavery as long as we don't (7+ / 0-)

    See it hear it or smell it. Slavery  & guns are the only true American traditions.

  •  Pass this bill and kiss goodbye to any comp time (14+ / 0-)

    infinity is very long and they can keep stretching out the theoretical time they will 'award' this putative comp time

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:10:04 PM PDT

  •  Stop talking about slavery! (8+ / 0-)

    It's not slavery!  It's Indentured Servitude, dammit!  You got yourself into it!  And after enough time, and saving up, you too can be free again...  in theory.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:22:00 PM PDT

  •  Maybe they could start by passing a law (8+ / 0-)

    that compels companies to give paid comp time to salaried employees because many of those employees often work well more than 40-50 hours a week and get pitiful vacation and sick time in exchange.

    Then they should move on to those paid hourly and make sure that they, too receive some paid comp time for working overtime hours in addition to their overtime pay.

    That might actually prompt some companies to start hiring other full time employees to cover the work load rather than abusing the staff because the companies haven't hired enough people to cover the work in a reasonable work week.

    •  Getting docked (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cynndara, inclusiveheart

      No overtime when I worked temp as a legal secretary a few years ago.

      Learned that lesson really quickly.  Not even a thank you when I stayed hours late; but they docked my pay one day when I came in a half hour late.

      No more staying late for me.

      And that brings up another point--don't Republicans get that a workplace with low morale is going to perform worse than one where people are happy?

      Just because the government keeps a record of real property transfers, it doesn't mean that the government wants to confiscate your home.

      by NCJan on Wed May 08, 2013 at 12:05:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes. Some day in the future. (6+ / 0-)

    The very, very far future.

    Like after you're dead.

  •  "Future comp time" in this day of plant closings, (8+ / 0-)

    and continued offshoring  is like asking working people nationwide to buy a used car from smarmy melon farmers like Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor.

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:53:51 PM PDT

    •  I've tried telling working class Republicans (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, NCJan, irate

      that this is the type of thing their party is up to, that their party doesn't give a flying f>>> at a rolling donut about them unless they're wealthy.


      Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Wed May 08, 2013 at 11:32:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The GOP (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        relies on the phenom of the low-information voter.  Low-info voters think "government is the problem" (which is not to say gov't is not the problem in many cases) and do not bother to figure out which party is the actual problem in most cases.  Then, the party that seems to be anti-government (GOP) wins hearts and (sort of) minds.

  •  Fuckers. n/t (5+ / 0-)

    The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

    by psnyder on Tue May 07, 2013 at 03:32:32 PM PDT

  •  Makes no sense anyway (9+ / 0-)

    Most overtime is due to staffing shortages, at least that was my experience in 30 years of manufacturing.  The only thing that would be worse would be employees taking comp time making shortages even worse.  My guess is that the republican vision is to make certain that enough restrictions get put on the use of comp time that it never gets used so they can bask in the satisfaction of the double-screwing of employees.  Assholes.

  •  This way you can sit at home broke (6+ / 0-)

    after all that extra work you've done.


  •  republicans miss slavery (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, a2nite

    Republicans MISS slavery.

    Republicans miss SLAVERY.

  •  Jobs are a drain on the economy and creating them (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, Gentle Giant, litho, a2nite, cynndara

    just costs jobs.

    It's not enough to pay people less, the employed ones need to work extra-hard.

    Too many people living to retirement and repubs doubtlessly want to shorten American;s lifetimes because people are a drag on the economy. Also...

    •  The myth of the lazy American worker. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, xxdr zombiexx, NCJan, a2nite, cynndara

      If only we'd be as productive as the children locked up in factories in third world countries.

      Meanwhile, studies show American laborers work more hours and produce more per working hour than almost any other nation's workers on the planet.

      We have got to get these MF'ers out of power. Further, we have got to haul their handlers out into the daylight.

      Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Wed May 08, 2013 at 11:35:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whaddyawannabet that repubs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gentle Giant, a2nite

        and business leaders here have little quiet moments of euphoria imagining being able to treat Americans like they get to treat Chinese workers, sequestering them in dorms and more or less holding them captive and paying them less than shit.

        God, what a wet dream that must be for Cheap Labor Republicans

        •  But, but . . . (0+ / 0-)

          that's exactly what they DID with the foreign workers they brought in on temporary work contracts to clean up after Katrina.  Didn't you see those reports?  A couple of Indian workers got out of the dorms and went public.

  •  Dirty fuckers. Them and their "productivity" (6+ / 0-)

    ... which pretty much means, "making one person do the work of more than one person".  Been there, done it, been financially and emotionally crushed by it.

    And now they're gonna take away overtime?  And replace it with comp time?  My ass.  First thing, I bet that "comp time" won't be time-and-a-half (or double or triple or whatever particular rate goes for that day or holiday).  Right out of the gate, workers lose money.

    Tom Smith Online
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Wed May 08, 2013 at 11:27:20 AM PDT

    •  True. In order to be fair, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      filkertom, red rabbit, NCJan

      above 40 hours, one should get an hour and a half comp time for every hour worked.
      Hell, if your schedule is an 8-hour workday, calculate it daily. Worked 9 hours today? Take an hour and a half off tomorrow. That would help deter abuse by employers.

      And again, a deadline. One more pay period should not pass before either comp time is taken or overtime is paid.

      Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Wed May 08, 2013 at 11:39:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good point n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Just because the government keeps a record of real property transfers, it doesn't mean that the government wants to confiscate your home.

      by NCJan on Wed May 08, 2013 at 12:07:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nobody EVER gets all their comp time. (7+ / 0-)

    It's never a one-to-one substitution.  We'll work you a lot extra now, and maybe you'll get some flextime later if we feel like it.  And if it's convenient.  And if you don't try to ask for ALL of it.    

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed May 08, 2013 at 11:30:52 AM PDT

    •  The model here (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, suspiciousmind, cynndara

      Supposedly the model here is federal employee comp and credit time.  But what they aren't saying about that model is that moany feds aren't allowed to "carry over" more than 24 hours comp/credit time from one two week pay period to the next--meaning you end up contributing that extra time as free work to the government (unless you work for one of those increasingly rare agencies that has $ for overtime).

      And if you do take that time, it's just less vacaion time you take, leaving vacation time to accumulate, never fully used.

      In short, comp time is NOT a fair trade for overtime pay, even in the "succesful" mode they are using.


      by Allen on Wed May 08, 2013 at 11:55:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Currently an hour of overtime garners the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    employee time and a half or %50 more than the standard hourly rate for every extra hour worked. As far as I can tell they aren't proposing in their legislation that companies give an employee an hour and a half of extra time off for every extra hour worked are they? As far as I can tell its an even eight hours overtime, get eight hours off (excluding blackout dates to be determined by the employer).

  •  Because, obviously, the central problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, cynndara

    facing the American economy today is that workers are getting paid too much and corporate profits are too low...

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Wed May 08, 2013 at 11:41:49 AM PDT

  •  House Republican Moochers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Wouldn't know hard work if it landed next to them like a space ship.

    People in this country are worked to fucking death with zero payoff and zero time to enjoy their lives. Who the fuck created this bullshit system anyway? I have to piss my whole life away making someone else rich, get treated like a piece of shit and have no enjoyment and that's it? What kind of nonsense is this?

    "Look here," he was yelling. "Look here, the bunglers—"

    by The Lone Apple on Wed May 08, 2013 at 11:42:44 AM PDT

  •  if it's a GOP bill, you know... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alice kleeman

    that somewhere the screw is put to workers.  

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Wed May 08, 2013 at 11:43:14 AM PDT

  •  Does it mean (0+ / 0-)

    that every hour you work overtime, one would get time and one half paid comp time?  Or just straight hour for hour?

  •  I loved my comp time "bank" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remove Kebab, jjohnjj, jhecht, cynndara

    when I was a police officer.  Granted, I was not living paycheck-to-paycheck, so I could afford to "bank" all my overtime (and there was a lot of it to be had).  I never touched my annual leave except for my use-or-lose.  I always took my time off from comp.

    But moreover, every few years, the police department would pay out a large chunk (like 80%) of everyone's comp time balances.  This worked to most officers' benefit because we would receive pay step increases and pay raises about once a year (setting aside promotion pay increases).  That meant that my comp time balance got paid out at an hourly pay rate higher than what I had earned most of it at.  This is probably why the Department, every now and then, would get wise and decide to pay down comp balances.  I preferred that they held out as long as possible.  When I left the department, I got paid out about 6 weeks worth of pay.  Nice exit check.

    I also later worked at a department that didn't seem to like giving out comp time in lieu of overtime pay.  It was a hassle to elect to take it.  I think they were savvy enough to realize it ended up costing the department more money in the long run.

    Comp time can be a good thing, even profitable to workers.  I just think there has to be adequate worker protections in place to prevent employers from pressuring workers from taking comp instead of pay or prevent them from accessing their comp time bank in either form of time off or cash outs.

    •  Agree. There's a place for flex and comp time. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In the technical consulting work I used to do there were always deadlines to get reports finished and out the door. If it took 44 hours to get it done by Friday, I had no problem with coming in at noon on Monday. I could also bank a limited amount for a three-day weekend once a month or to take afternoons off for dental appointments, etc.

      But this was in a well-funded, white-collar business in an expanding economy. It's not appropriate for every situation and it can lead to lazy management that makes a habit of last-minute scrambles.

      I certainly don't trust the Republicans to do anything good with the concept.

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Wed May 08, 2013 at 12:28:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here is a bit of good news about workers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in today's Big O:

    Plus note that union membership has grown in Oregon and is now over 15%.  Not fantastic, but better than the national average.

    •  I immediately thought "Unions"... (0+ / 0-)

      ....when reading this diary. These sorts of laws will only make them more necessary.......and stronger.

      I believe a sternly worded letter just might be in order here.

      by suspiciousmind on Wed May 08, 2013 at 12:03:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More necessary, yes. (0+ / 0-)

        Stronger?  There's been a century of negative propaganda bought hook, line, and sinker by the average worker.  Even in Ohio, once a hardline Union state, a factory worker told me ten years ago that unions are now worthless, because they can't keep your job from being shipped to China.  The people who need the unions, don't believe in them.  

        And they have good reason, because unions got fat and lazy, and for roughly five decades wouldn't even entertain the notion of someone joining the union without working in a shop they'd already organized.  In order to recruit from a population where no more than 7% currently work in union shops, they have to be willing to expand their vision.  I've seen some evidence that they're starting to do that, but it's still baby steps.

  •  In my workplace (university administration) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Where a lot of our duties overlap, on the day that employee 1 takes comp time, employees 2 and 3 end up absorbing a lot of the work that employee 1 would be doing, so my company will end up getting extra work out of the people who remain, for no extra money.  

    Actually most of us are now "salaried", so we don't get a penny more for working extra.  Supposedly we are responsible for completing our work, no matter what the hours, but there is not ever a way to measure completeness because we are generally have 20 or 30 smaller tasks that we are responsible for, and always partially behind on.  We aren't project based and work is never "done", so nobody is justified going home early.  Also higher level administration has a real talent for giving itself raises and giving us furloughs.  I'm sure they would love to find a way to pay the few remaining unionized workers as little per hour as they pay the rest of us.

  •  What also pisses me off is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that they can take the time you earned away from you if you don't use it within a specific period. That means time you earned (and, as we all know, time is money) can be taken away from you. overtime dollars are REAL dollars that cannot be taken away.
    If they want to change things, then they are going to have to guarantee you can bank the time...forever...until you leave the job, whereupon they can pay you for it, or you can leave early and get paid for an extended vacation.
    Of course, what happens if the worker is fired? Does the company gt to deny them the right to the time they EARNED?
    If I earn something, it is MINE. You don't get to take it away!

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Wed May 08, 2013 at 12:19:22 PM PDT

    •  The whole intent, of course. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MA Liberal

      Payment deferred long enough is payment denied.  On a statistical basis, a corporation with thousands of employees can save substantial money if they manage to weasle out of just 10% of their comp time commitments.  And by judicious refusal of permissions, they can usually get that up to more like 50%.

      •  It's called stealing... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        When a person EARNS wages, overtime included, you should not be able to steal those wages. And it is stealing if you give comp time and never let it be taken, and then declare it unusable after a certain time.
        Just plain outright stealing from the pockets of workers.

        Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

        by MA Liberal on Wed May 08, 2013 at 03:20:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I brought that up (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MA Liberal

          at my last job, when I thought it was going to be the VERY last job I ever needed.  In fact, they unfroze the vacation calendar and suddenly started letting us schedule vacation after a year and a half, about two weeks after I mentioned to my supervisor that I'd already been checking out the DOL website for instructions on how to file a complaint.  Unfortunately, as I did tell her (my direct supervisor was a world apart from the corporate goons), it appeared from that website that the only recourse was for the employees to file a lawsuit.  I dunno, perhaps she was able to convince THEM that I might do something like that.  

  •  Rubio says isolate the tipping point of (0+ / 0-)

    radicalization. That would be the CIA. He wants to know what would lead someone to kill and maim his own neighbors? Ask Posada Carriles.

    A good horse is never a bad color.

    by CcVenussPromise on Wed May 08, 2013 at 12:35:15 PM PDT

  •  If its from the GOP and has "family" in the title (0+ / 0-)

    you know its gonna be bad, real bad, for actual "families".

    I don't get mad. I get stabby!" - Fat Tony D'Amico

    by sizzzzlerz on Wed May 08, 2013 at 12:49:14 PM PDT

  •  It looks like this bill passed (0+ / 0-)

    On a strict party-line vote.

  •  Rename this "The Whimpy Bill" (0+ / 0-)

    I'll gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today.

  •  My problem with comp time. (0+ / 0-)

    I don't get it but my wife does.

    It sounds like a great idea, but with my job if I had it, or my wifes and she DOES have it it doesn't work.

    Both of our jobs management expects you to work at such a level that it is very hard to meet production goals working a full shift.

    For instance at my job a lot of employees work from 15 min to an hour or more off the clock just to keep up.

    If you fall behind management will give you a bad evaluation, suspend you or even fire you say if you get sick and miss too many days and get behind.

    Nobody does your job when you are gone and the work just piles up.

    So if I got comp time I couldnt' take it.

    Them my wife actually gets comp time but if she takes it she gets behind and gets in trouble. In fact she has even lost regular vacation days because you are only allowed to carry a certain amount year to year and she has so much work that she cannot take the vacation she has, much less comp time.

    I guess it would work for service workers or something but at least how it does work for my wife and others I know is that the reason you work over is that there is too much work to do and then if you take comp time it just puts you farther behind and gets you in trouble with management.

    •  Working off the clock (0+ / 0-)

      is illegal.  If it is necessary in order to meet goals to the point where it is near-universal, then it's time to call DOL.  Seriously.  They've busted Wal-Mart and Nordstrom's on this and a dozen other companies.  It's ILLEGAL.

  •  I've often felt (0+ / 0-)

    that DOL rules requiring flexed time to be encapsulated in a single workweek to be difficult and inflexible.  As an employee working Saturdays, I had no opportunity to make up lost hours if I was late to work due to a Saturday morning blizzard (generally three of those every year in Ohio).  Instead my tiny stock of leave was eroded by simple safety and natural phenomena (combined with the employer's insistence that filling mail-order prescriptions was "medical service" on par with emergency medical care and therefore exempt from local rules regarding emergency driving only during those blizzards).

    Yet I've also worked under a comp-time situation at an overworked state agency, where the upshot of matters was hundreds of hours of overtime worked and no opportunity to take off, not to mention the years of vacation refused.  And at that same private employer with no regard for employee safety, we underwent a period of 18 months during which essentially NO leave was approved.  Period.  How would one recover comp time under those circumstances?

    Employers already abuse overtime and vacation policies to force employees to work long hours on demand and without choice.  Employers already refuse reasonable leave requests with great regularity,  leaving employees no way to schedule leave honestly by accepting only "emergency" leave for medical and family purposes.  Employers don't obey the laws we have now, so how could we expect them to behave any better if we had even less legal protection?

  •  There is a place for comp time (0+ / 0-)

    I've worked in organizations where there are occasionally major events, like a sales conference or seminar, that required everyone to put in extra effort to make deadlines, followed by a period of relax and kick back.   Comp time was a great way to handle that, because it gave employees a needed break, didn't involve budget issues about wages, and worked for salaried employees.  
    So it seems to me that comp time shouldn't be illegal, but there are obvious boundaries needed:
    It should be time-and-a-half.
    It should be used within a few months.
    It should be paid if not used.

    I'm still mad about Nixon.

    by J Orygun on Thu May 09, 2013 at 02:32:47 AM PDT

  •  Overtime as an SOP (0+ / 0-)

    I think there is too much use of overtime by some organizations - especially public agencies - as a standard way to do business.  It seems we have created an environment in which it is cheaper to pay overtime than it is to hire another employee at regular time.  I really think the economy would be better off if no one were allowed to work, even at multiple jobs,  more than 600 or 700 hours in a quarter.  We need to put more people to work at less stressful conditions.  Overtime should be for special occasions.

    I'm still mad about Nixon.

    by J Orygun on Thu May 09, 2013 at 02:43:07 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site