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Jun 3, 201301:38 PMVan Lines

with Joe Vanden Plas

Congress must act for businesses, working moms

(page 1 of 2)

Just in case members of Congress wonder why their collective favorability rating is only slightly above that of prickly heat, the U.S. Senate’s reluctance to pass the Working Families Flexibility Act provides a reminder.

For the sake of businesses that need quality labor and working moms who need a flexible work schedule, the bill would update the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow employees to swap overtime pay for compensatory time off. The Depression-era FLSA requires workers to take time-and-half pay for any extra hours they work, but the “flex act” lets individuals decide whether they’d prefer compensatory time or overtime pay, and it prohibits employers from pressuring them.

Despite hyperbolic claims to the contrary, the law does not undermine existing overtime rights. Government workers have long been granted this flexibility, and the right to pursue overtime pay lives on. In fact, the House version of the bill, which passed 223-204, is written with the same “pro-choice” protections public employees have.

One wonders whether those 204 “nays” understand that they are, in fact, waging war on working women with children, and on any adult who must care for an aging parent. Without this flexibility, what’s the point of the Family Medical Leave Act?

Unfortunately, organized labor has its nose out of joint about this because the only way many private employers, namely union shops, can offer this flexibility is through collective bargaining. Apparently, it’s crucially important for union bosses to justify their existence by negotiating such workplace flexibility into collective bargaining agreements. Never mind that employers are willing to provide it anyway.


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