For employees and employers out there

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Affairs' started by longing4sis, May 8, 2017.

  1. longing4sis Trusted Member

    I read this the other day and thought I would share it.

    House Republicans just voted to change overtime rules for workers

    On Tuesday afternoon, the House voted to pass a bill that Republicans have promoted since the Newt Gingrich era, one that would allow private-sector employees to exchange overtime pay for “compensatory time" off, electing to accrue extra hours off rather than extra pay in their wallets. The bill passed 229 to 197, largely along party lines.
    The bill -- which supporters say would add flexibility to hourly workers' schedules while opponents worry that it wouldn't do enough to protect employees -- is not a new idea. It seeks to take a similar provision that has been available to government workers since 1985 and extend it to private-sector employees, making it legal for them to choose between an hour and a half of paid comp time and time-and-a-half pay when they work additional hours.
    Similar bills have been introduced multiple times over the past two decades, passing the House three times before failing in the Senate. Although its fate is unclear in the Senate this year, the White House said Tuesday that it supports the bill, saying in a statement that it would “help American workers balance the competing demands of family and work by giving them flexibility to earn paid time off."
    Under the proposed changes, eligible employees -- if their employer decides to offer the option -- would be able to voluntarily choose to receive comp time they can bank and use at a future date in lieu of immediate overtime pay in their paychecks. If they change their minds and want the pay after all, employees would have the option of “cashing out," with the employer required to pay the overtime within 30 days.
    Proponents of the bill suggest the change would improve flexibility for overtime-eligible employees -- often lower-wage hourly workers who don't have the same access to paid time off as their salaried counterparts -- to take care of their families.
    “Ask any parent just how precious their time is," Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), who introduced the measure, said during debate on the House floor Tuesday. The bill, she said, “provides flexibility for working moms and dads who need more time to spend taking care of their family responsibilities."

    Some employer groups are big supporters. “It's our strong belief that we ought to make this option available," Lisa Horn, director of Congressional affairs for the Society for Human Resource Management, which represents employers, said in an interview. “The bill has built-in protections to make sure employees aren’t coerced into choosing comp times."
    But opponents worry those protections aren't strong enough. Though the bill includes language that bans employers from “directly or indirectly intimidating, threatening, or coercing or attempting to intimidate, threaten, or coerce an employee" to choose comp time over pay, many Democrats and advocates for workers say they are concerned that people will feel pressure to opt for the comp time and may not have the resources to seek legal help if they are coerced.
    “Under current law, if an employee wants to work overtime, put the money in the bank where it can earn interest and use it to cover the cost of taking some time off later with the permission of the employer, he can do that today -- without this bill," Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Va.), the ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said on the House floor Tuesday.
    Although employees have the choice of whether to take comp time or extra pay, opponents warn that it is their bosses who make the schedules that offer the extra hours many low-wage workers depend on.
    “Whether it’s overt coercion, which language in the bill prohibits, or just a preference, there's going to be strong incentives to giving overtime hours to workers choosing to take comp time," said Vicki Shabo, vice president for the nonprofit advocacy group National Partnership for Women & Families.
    She adds: “When you’re thinking about low-wage workers who need these jobs, the appetite to pursue [legal] remedies is going to be quite low."
    Others suggest the limitations requiring workers to give “reasonable notice" and not “unduly disrupt" the workplace with their requests for time off give employers plenty of latitude to say no.

    “The reality is that it significantly shifts the balance of power and really puts the decision into the hands of the employer instead of the employee," said Jocelyn Frye, a senior fellow at the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress. “It doesn’t provide any level of assurance that the person will actually be able to use the leave for the purpose they need it."
    Democrats in the House sounded similar concerns Tuesday. “The choice between overtime pay and comp time is a false choice for workers," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). “We know what happens in the reality of the workplace. The vague promise of time off in the future is often never realized."
    Horn, the SHRM executive, said she doesn't see that as a concern. Employers who are “going to go to this trouble of setting up this program -- I think it's highly unlikely they're going to turn around and forbid the worker from using it," she said. She also notes that the penalties in the bill for coercion are “stiff" and should help deter employers from it.
    Jonathan Segal, a partner in the employment group of the law firm Duane Morris, agreed. Penalties such as double damages to employees, he said, mean “there's a material disincentive for employers to do the wrong thing," he said.
    Still, opponents said GOP rhetoric has suggested that comp time programs could be an alternative to family-friendly policies such as paid sick leave, which have been gaining ground at the state and local levels in recent years. They argue that low-wage workers should not have to make the choice, as well as that sick or family leave needs often don't come with “reasonable notice."
    “It sets up a false narrative," Frye said. “The notion you somehow have to trade off your pay for flexibility is certainly not the way it works for higher paid employees."
    Todd Stacy, a spokesman for Roby, said such remarks are “frustrating" and noted that the current bill is not a mandate, as well as that it prohibits even indirect coercion and lets workers cash out their accrued time if they and their employer can't agree on when the comp time is taken. “It's not for every employer and it's not for every employee," he said. “It's simply meant as an option, to legalize it in the private sector."

    The bill now faces the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hasn't shared his plans on the issue, according to a report in Bloomberg News. In 2013, however, he did support a version of a similar bill.
    If it does ultimately become law, employers will have to decide whether to offer it. Horn says that of SHRM's 285,000 members, “I probably have just as many who would like to offer the comp time as those who would never want to pursue this option. It is a lift for employers," she said, meaning it requires planning, expense and logistics. “There's the tracking of hours, and they carry the liability on their balance sheet in case there's a cash-out. Some employers are just like 'I would rather pay the straight option.' "
  2. buffyfan Trusted Member

    So. My first issue. If you do this, is it at the Employer's terms. Example. Can they say "Well it accrues in 2017. Use it or lose it." followed by "Oh staffing levels must be maintained so too bad, guess you lose it!"
    lurkorn and longing4sis like this.
  3. joep Trusted Member

    You would not loose your comp time. So, the company would be forced to pay it, if you could not use it in a specified time frame.
    longing4sis and annab2 like this.
  4. longing4sis Trusted Member

    I have to go with joep on this, the company has to compensate you for your time. I know when I worked for Compaq they already did something like this for overtime. If we had the days occurred from overtime and we didn't use them they would roll over to a curtain point and then we could either play it over as extra sick time or they would pay us or both if there was enough time to do it with. They really did right by their employees.:)
  5. buffyfan Trusted Member

    Yup. Under the law. Places like retail stores and fast food already have "written rules", then they have what happens. "You are scheduled for X hours, if you have to be here later, and want to keep the job? Punch out at the original time.". I am not worried about office workers per se.

    Your statement assumes that the employer is honest. Many retail stores give full timers PTO. Then every Wed and Sat is a "Super Sale" with "All hands on deck". And Nov-March is blacked out, as are the weeks of all major holidays. So I do not doubt they will give the time, then magically you can never take it because of staffing levels. And unless the law states they have to pay it if you dont take it in a certain amount of time? Some will just tell you it stays accrued forever, but always have the excuse of why it cant be taken.
    lurkorn likes this.
  6. joep Trusted Member

    I worked for Harbor Freight Tools for 4 years and it didn't matter if you were a full time or part time employee. You accrued vacation time called PTO "Paid Time Off" after your probation period. The accrual was based on the hours you worked so full time employees would accrue faster than part time employees, but all accrued. Both full time and part time employees also accrued sick time throughout the year. If you didn't use all or any of it by the end of November you received a check Mid December for the unused time minus 5 hours (I think) that were rolled over to next year.

    In regards to PTO you needed to give 2 weeks notice minimum to use it, because of "Tent Sales" that happened 4 times a year you did have black outs during those events, but those periods were published a year in advanced for planning purpose.

    Vacation/PTO requests were rarely turned down, but it would occasionally happen when too many people requested the same day off. Then it was usually determined by seniority.
    longing4sis likes this.
  7. jillicious Incestuous Story Writer

    I currently have a job that allows us to choose between comp time or overtime for salary employees. We also have flex time which is basically just getting in your 80 hours during the pay period. Overtime or comp time must be approved of before hand. We have six months to use comp time but most people I work with will choose the comp time over the overtime. It usually gets used up within the first couple weeks of getting it.
  8. buffyfan Trusted Member

    I know people who came through they Federated Stores (Macys, Bloomingdales, etc). Same deal. Each hour worked equaled X PTO accrued. The difference was they would get it approved months in advance, make plans, then have the Management tell them "Well, a One Day Sale falls in that time. So you have to be here that day" a week or two prior with the threat of their job if they were not there. For most, this wont be an issue. But there are dishonest employers who will take advantage.

    And what I have heard referred to as the "God Complex Floor Manager". I represented someone who had to take a Jewish Holiday off. This was not a "well. Cant you do it another day" thing. The floor manager responded "Well that is a day we need the department fully staffed for the preview day of a sale. So I am going to have to deny that. And if you want to keep your job, you will be here!".
    annab2 likes this.
  9. buffyfan Trusted Member

    To be clear, this change is not a bad idea per se. The law just needs to be narrow and have rules. You cant make a change like this, then take a "the market will regulate itself. If an employer does not do right people will eventually quit" stance. So, as long as the rules are clear? Like you cant "expire it by continually saying "not a good time right now" ". This is not a bad thing. I do think this should be an employee decision though, not a "policy" stating "Comp time is the only option".
    annab2 likes this.
  10. winchester73 Trusted Member

    I worked under the "comp time" system while with the Calif. ANG in the 50s. There was no option; overtime was not recognized in the military. I liked it. I worked the private sector for over 50 more years and missed it several time. Overtime pay scenarios are completely fair. Most of us live lives dependent on a 40hr. week; sirupting this is expensive. I learned to hate"overtime" jobs because I realized in my 40s that I could always make up the money but I could never make up the time. Ergo, "comp time" became a very desirable commodity. But, because comp time is not tax-transferable to the government, it disappeared as an option. I talked to a plumber one time who's employer only charged his crews a flat amount of hours a week. The offsets were carried as regular pay during slow months. He made a steady, adequate and fair living from year to year with this arrangement.
    annab2 likes this.
  11. buffyfan Trusted Member

    I do the same thing with Corporate Clients.

    Now. The Comp Time thing is not bad. As long as the Employer is honest, as in not telling people "Let it go or be fired". And protections for that are in the law. As long as it is not, as I stated above, "well our time off policy clearly states......... and it turns out there was no open time to take your comp time so it is lost.".
    annab2 likes this.
  12. annab2 Lead Moderator

    Religious Holiday's should always be given by producing an affirmation from the Employer, regardless of religion! As long as, it is a bona fide, recognized religion, this is a No-Brainer! :)
  13. buffyfan Trusted Member

    It was Yom Kippur. The one day a Jew is not to work. Ever. Period. The problem is the Manager was a power trip douche. He was fired later when he started SCREAMING at an employee on the sales floor for not redoing a display the way "he wanted it". A note. Macy's sends a corporate floor plan for every inch. And this, it turns out was not that.
    annab2 likes this.
  14. annab2 Lead Moderator

    Yeppers, That "Arse-Hat" should have been fired! It's beyond me how those bottom-feeders ever get the opportunity to serve in a trusted capacity! ;)
  15. buffyfan Trusted Member

    It is retail management. We need to recognize you wont get the best of the best for like 14 an hour.
    annab2 likes this.
  16. Sarcas Trusted Member

    I have always had this system and it worked well for me. I usually have them pay my overtime hours because I have enough days off as it is. We're required by contract to take one or two weeks off every 3 months and this way I can take 2 or three weeks off and have the spare hours paid. It is pretty nice.
    annab2 likes this.
  17. annab2 Lead Moderator

    It sounds like it's good for you!:)
  18. pussycat Trusted Member

    I know there are substantial differences in the laws between our two countries, but one thing we have in common - we both have trade unions.
    What happens when this new proposed law of yours conflicts with your collective bargaining agreement (which it almost certainly will)?

    :confused:
    annab2 likes this.