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April 19, 2019
Dear Members of Congress,
Americans want people to be able to take time off from work when they need it, and not face financial hardship. Policymakers are exploring a variety of ways to achieve this goal, without creating new burdens, such as more taxes, mandates on employers, or shifting costs to other employees.
One simple but important way to achieve this would be by passing the Working Families Flexibility Act to give workers more options and more control over how they receive compensation.
Americans—particularly women—know that compensation comes in different forms. Not all workers prefer extra pay for working overtime. Many would prefer additional time off, especially when they are planning to have or adopt a baby, or have a family member who needs care. More people will be able to act on this preference once the Working Families Flexibility Act takes effect. This bill amends the woefully out-of-date, Depression-era law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, to allow employers and workers to voluntarily agree to 1.5 hours of compensatory time for every hour of overtime worked, instead of 1.5 times pay for that additional hour.
That’s an option that public sector employees have enjoyed for decades. It’s past time to give that additional flexibility to private-sector workers. This flexibility will help working parents, working students, those caring for an aging parent, and the millions of other workers who are trying to balance responsibilities both on and off the job. While the majority of full-time workers in the U.S. have access to some form of paid time off following the birth or adoption of a child, there are still many workers who do not receive paid parental leave through their employers and can face hardship as a result. We all recognize that we must help workers who lack paid parental leave and this legislation can help to achieve that goal because it would allow workers to earn time off by working overtime.
Independent Women’s Voice, a group dedicated to fighting for policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities, is proud to support the Working Families Act, and applauds Sen. Mike Lee for championing this bill. We urge other members of Congress to support this common-sense legislation to give more workers the flexibility they need and deserve.
Vice President for Policy
Independent Women’s Voice