Workers may be able to legally trade overtime for time off under a proposal making its way through Congress.
Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairs the House Education and Workforce Committee, which passed the Working Families Flexibility Act. The bill aims to lift the requirement from the Fair Labor Standards Act that requires most workers to be paid for overtime, rather than so-called "comp time."
"The private sector has been frozen with this 1938 law all this time. Workplaces change, you have a lot of single moms and single dads, and this time off is very, very important to them," Kline said. "They plan vacations, the plan to spend time with their parents, they plan to spend time at the kids soccer game. It's time to modernize this law."
There's also a provision in the bill for employees whose circumstances change to require their employer to pay them overtime, even if they previously agreed to a comp time arrangement.
"They just turn to the employer, and say, I want the cash instead of the time, and the employer has to pay the cash," Kline said.
Opponents say employers will pressure workers to take time off, rather than pay that they're entitled to. The measure is currently waiting for a vote on the House Floor.