Recently a House Bill aimed at amending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was introduced to a U.S. Congressional Committee. The FLSA as it is currently written is already one of the more pro-worker federal labor laws in existence. Although the FLSA covers a number of different areas, including child labor laws, there are two key provisions of the FLSA that impact just about every employee who works for a wage in this country: (1) the minimum wage provision and (2) the overtime provision. Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees are entitled to be paid overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half times their hourly rate of pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours. For many workers, earning overtime is critical to making ends meet each year.
If you have questions about the FLSA or believe that you may have not received all the pay you deserve, it’s a good idea to speak to a dedicated Atlanta wage and hour attorney right away. A skilled FLSA lawyer can review your situation and provide key insights and guidance regarding your next steps. In many cases, it may be possible to recover back wages and damages where a pay violation has occurred.
The new bill – called the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013” (the “Act”) – sounds innocent enough, but may actual be a strike against working families and instead give more power to employers. The Act would allow workers to choose between receiving overtime pay or additional time off “comp time” in exchange for extra hours on the job. Supporters of the legislation claim this change would give employees more freedom about how to use their overtime. But critics say that people need to beware of the amendment – it really takes power away from workers and gives it to their bosses. It would create a “loophole” for bosses to get out over paying overtime.
According to one critic who testified before the House Committee this week, “This legislation is based on smoke and mirrors …It pretends to offer the time off people need, when they need it, but in fact, it is a pay cut for workers without any attendant guarantee of time.”
After her testimony, the critic described the legislation to MSNBC.com as an “Employers Flexibility Bill.” “It’s the employer that gets to decide when and under what circumstances you can take this comp time,” she said. She also expressed concern that employers could pressure employees into taking comp time rather than pay. These employers could then also decide who to give overtime hours on the basis of who they would have to grant overtime pay or comp time.
As dedicated Georgia worker’s rights attorneys, we will be following this and any other employment rights developments closely and will be ready to help our clients and others understand how changes in the law may affect them. For questions about this Act or the FLSA please contact the knowledgeable Atlanta FLSA attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.