Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013

This is a pretty cool bill. Allows employers to offer employees the option of receiving overtime as 1.5x paid time off instead of 1.5x pay. So if getting additional time off is more important to you than getting a bigger paycheck, you can have that option. If you change your mind later, you can cash out at any time, and employers can’t force you either way. Naturally, unions are furious, because they care about their coffers, not about worker freedom.


  1. says

    Worker freedom is, of course, a good thing. But what about employer freedom?

    Or does freedom of choice and association only apply to workers and not business owners?

    • says

      But what about employer freedom?

      Read the bill. It’s double-opt-in. Employer has to offer the option, and employee has to agree to it. Without both parties agreeing, normal overtime laws apply. “But why couldn’t they do this before now, then?” you ask? Because it was prohibited by law.

      • MK Safi says

        Why didn’t they then just repeal the old law that prohibited this instead of complicating things with new laws?

  2. DJ says

    That bill has loopholes you could drive a truck through. Give business any opportunity to manipulate it and many, if not most will.

    The whole schmeal that in many government sectors this is a “perk” doesn’t equate to the same in private industry where profit is the only factor driving them.

    I’ve worked in government, worked as a contractor to government, and many years in private industry (both in and out of unions). Gov’t and unions have added safe guards from abuse of these “perks” that this bill does not address.

    On the surface it sounds good but sharks are circling below. Guaranteed.

    • says

      It seems adequately well-covered to me. The employee holds most of the cards here. And any employer that doesn’t like it doesn’t have to offer it to their employees. Are there any alleged loopholes that you can specifically expound upon?

  3. DJ says

    Without going into multiple examples I’ll say this is my main issue; there are no protections for the employee in this bill.

    Yes, it states that an employer can’t intimidate, threaten, or coerce an employee into accepting this (after 1,000 hours of continuous employment in a 12 month period), but the remedies are a joke. Basically nonexistent. A person would have to sue, and prove, that not accepting compensatory time in lieu of pay was the reason for being let go. The same would be the case if the employee, under this law (Sec. 2, para 3, sub E) requested to withdraw or request payout (after 30 days of notice). What are the chances of that happening? Slim, very slim.

    Here’s another way to coerce: no more paid vacation. If you want vacation you’ll have to ‘earn’ the time off with of course… this. Business is smart enough to make this a ‘policy’ and thus avoiding the “coercion, intimidation” thing. And since it’s an all or nothing situation you’re duly coerced.

    None of this would be possible under any of the government or union agreements I worked under. They are more precise; much more detailed, and provide protections for the employee from a predatory employer, which seems to be more the case than ever. (This of course isn’t the case with Automattic and other such companies but they aren’t in the majority (sigh).)

    The point is that this bill, as written, is way too vague. It’s wide open for abuse (it’s also an interest free loan to business). I personally don’t put much faith in businesses in general anymore. I did once. Back when they treated employees like assets, not cattle. My days at EDS as a system architect (fulltime telecommute) were just that. (They’re the only non-union company left in the US (I know of) that provides not only your standard 401K, but also a non-contributory retirement account on top that ain’t shabby, among other ‘perks’. Mine continues to accrue and grow as we speak and I don’t work for them anymore.)

    Lastly, I have to ask myself: “What is wrong with a system that has been in place for decades, and helped so many people? Why is this so important all of a sudden? What is the end game here?” To me, something stinks. I have little trust in any politicians. They have always been the whores of business, but nothing like I’ve seen in the last decade.

    • says

      Should we then just get rid of overtime altogether, since companies are likely to abuse it and the only remedy is legal threats?

  4. DJ says

    Point me to cases where employers have used overtime to abuse employees. I believe the law does just the opposite; its intention.

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