Congress is considering a bill that would allow private-sector employers the option of giving workers paid time off in lieu of overtime.
Supporters say it would give working parents more flexibility in balancing their work duties with their family responsibilities.
Critics, including Democratic U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut’s 3rd District, call it “an empty promise that would cause more harm than good.”
The Workplace Flexibility Act of 2013 is expected to come up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives this week.
DeLauro joined U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland and leaders of various womens’ and worker’s rights groups on a conference call Monday afternoon.
“This bill is a sham and we’re going to call it out for what it is,” DeLauro said.
The business community and other backers of the measure say it will help workers who need flexibility to tend to family matters.
But Edwards said employees would still need approval before taking off the time they have earned. “The employers are given the flexibility of comp time but the employees can’t take the time when they want it,” she said.
Edwards and DeLauro said the bill’s sponsors are motivated more by a desire to get out of paying overtime than to help their employees.
Edwards said the bill should be called the “Working Families to Death Act.”
Delauro said employers might punish workers who decline to accept comp time in lieu of overtime pay.
Instead of this bill, Congress should enact policies that would support working parents, such as paid sick leave and the paycheck fairness act, she said.