H.R. 1406: More Work, Less Pay--A Republican Bill to Upend Overtime Pay for Workers
The House Republican bill H.R. 1406 is the latest in a string of GOP attacks on workers' rights. The bill would force an unnecessary choice between overtime pay that workers rely on and time off that they may never be able to take advantage of. H.R. 1406 would give employers the ability to offer compensatory time off in exchange for any overtime wages the worker has earned. For instance, under current law, if an hourly employee is paid at 1.5 times the rate of their wage for hours worked more than 40 hours in a week. However, under this bill, the employer can take all of those wages earned above 40 hours and put into a pot for future time off that is controlled by the employer. In other words, the worker would not get paid for the work they perform during their current pay period. Unused time would be paid back at the end of the year, amounting to a no-interest loan to employers from workers.
Workers shouldn’t have to choose between the overtime pay they need and the family-friendly policies they desire.
- Democrats have introduced many proposals to provide needed family friendly leave policies without taking away workers’ overtime rights.
- Congress should be looking at ways to give workers more power over their lives, not hand over hard-fought rights won by workers to their employers.
This bill is a worn-out idea being pushed by the House leadership as part of their effort to soften the Republican brand.
- The exact bill was proposed and died in committee in 2003. It will go no further than the House of Representatives. It is a waste of time.
- Instead of focusing on the real challenges we face, the Republican majority is advancing policies that benefit the powerful at the expense of the broad interests of the American people.
- The House Republican leadership rebranding effort will ultimately fail because the agenda being advanced hurts working families and the middle class.
This bill gives employers the flexibility not to pay overtime to their workers. Workers who need flexibility in the workplace are not guaranteed time off when they need it under this bill.
- Workers will not get paid for hours that exceed 40 hours a week. That compensation will instead go into a pot that will be controlled by their employer.
- The employer can refuse to allow a worker to take time off to deal with a family member or attend a parent-teacher conference. This is not real flexibility for workers.
- It’s an interest-free loan paid for by the workers’ wages since unused comp time will be paid back the worker at the end of the year.
- Weak penalties in the bill will encourage employers to coerce workers into giving up their overtime rights.