Overtime Pay Changes Ahead: New Bill May Change Overtime Pay Requirements
A new bill has made it through the U.S House of Representatives that could have major repercussions with regard to overtime pay for workers all over this country, including Texas. If this bill were to become law, workers in the private sector who are currently entitled to paid overtime could be allowed to opt for compensatory time, or “comp time” instead of the extra pay.
Under current Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime provisions, most employees 16 and older are covered by the act, which requires employers to be paid at a rate not less than one and a half times their regular pay rate, for any hours they work over 40 in a given work week, which is defined as a “fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours … seven consecutive 24-hour periods.”
Under the new bill, workers who opt for comp time could choose to use it whenever they wanted, as long as they give the employer “reasonable notice” and it doesn’t disrupt business operations to any significant degree.
Opponents of the new bill note that it would be very difficult to monitor compliance with such a law, making it it too easy to work employees long hours without any sort of compensation. They note that there is nothing in the legislation guaranteeing that workers who choose comp time would get to use it whenever they want or need it, without the possibility of their boss’s veto.
They note that some workers can afford to do unpaid work, but others cannot afford to do comp time. Employers and supervisors can create a coercive atmosphere by always give the most hours to those workers willing to do the work for free, and denying hours to others. Before long, it would become routine for employers to avoid overtime altogether.
The current FLSA protects workers from being denied fair pay for a day’s work, and this bill could seriously impact that. It may never become law, but you should know what some in Congress are considering.
If you are working more than 40 hours a week, and not being paid at least time and a half for the extra hours worked, please contact the Texas Overtime Wage Theft Lawyers at Hill Law Firm today for a free consultation.