WASHINGTON -- The House has backed legislation that would allow private sector companies to give employees compensation time off rather than overtime pay.
The vote was 229-197 on Tuesday as six Republicans joined 191 Democrats in opposing the measure.
Republicans cast the measure as offering greater flexibility for employers and workers. Democrats complained that the bill undermines the Fair Labor Standards Act. No Democrat voted for the measure.
Republican Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas says the work force has changed dramatically, and that employees in both the public and private sector should have the same chance to balance work and personal life.
Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland says the bill "effectively devalues what workers can earn for the extra hours they work."
The bill would tweak the Fair Labor Standards Act which says employers must pay their workers time-and-a-half after they’ve worked over 40 hours.
The bill also prohibits employers from coercing or intimidating employees to choose time off instead of overtime pay.
This is the fourth time this bill has been proposed. It passed The House in 1996, 1997 and 2013 but did not pass the Senate.
Lashonda Kahill is a mother of two.
She previously worked for a company that gave her the option to choose.
“It does give you additional time off that you wouldn't have had otherwise,” says Kahill.
Kahill says she was able to spend more time with her kids and take them to medical appointments.
“I wasn't forced to take one or the other,” says Kahill.
Pepe McNeal and Greg Spadaccini left their corporate jobs to work for themselves.
They say their companies always promised “comp time” but never came through with it.
“We had time off but we had blackout dates, where we couldn't use the time we had accrued to take off. So, we got stuck working even though we wanted the time off and it was sitting in an account somewhere we couldn't touch,” says Spadaccini, Owner of Spaddy’s Coffee.
Both sides taking to twitter to give their opinions on the bill.
Republican Representative Martha Roby says the bill contains strong protections for workers like preventing your boss from trying to force you to take a day off rather than get overtime.
The workforce has changed quite a bit over the years, but the laws and policies governing the workplace haven't really kept up... pic.twitter.com/sr6ZgSYXjb— Rep. Martha Roby (@RepMarthaRoby) May 2, 2017
“Critics of this bill will tell you that it will somehow result in employees working longer hours for less pay. That is simply not true. The decision to receive “comp time” is completely voluntary,” says Roby (R).
Democrat Elizabeth Warren is one of those critics, tweeting:
Today, @HouseGOP are voting to make it legal for employers to cheat workers out of overtime. It's a disgrace.
How this all ends will depend on how the Senate votes.
But it's important to note that the Trump administration is in favor of this bill, so President Trump would sign it if it came across his desk.
© 2017 Associated Press