Rep. Takano, Committee Democrats Voice Strong Opposition to Bill that Weakens Overtime Rights for Low-Income Workers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, Rep. Takano and Committee Democrats voiced strong opposition to the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 (H.R.1180). The bill would weaken overtime rights for low-income workers who are already struggling to keep pace with the economy. Instead of paying workers for their overtime work, the legislation allows employers to pocket employees’ overtime pay in return for a vague promise that employees may be able to take compensatory time off at some point in the future.

“This bill ought to be named the Betrayal of Working Families Act because it once again violates the Trump administration’s promise to empower vulnerable Americans,” said Rep. Takano. “The bill gives employers the right to deny low-income workers the overtime pay they’ve earned, while giving their employees nothing but vague promises in return. At a time when there is so much this Committee can do to support working families, it is disappointing that we are even considering legislation that would take us in the opposite direction.”

Workers’ overtime rights have already been severely diminished because the Department of Labor’s 2016 update to the overtime salary threshold did not go into effect. The so-called Working Families Flexibility Act is one in a long line of destructive bills that Congressional Republicans have offered to deny workers hard-earned pay, retirement security, health care benefits, health and safety protections, and paychecks.

Vicki Shabo, Vice President of the National Partnership for Women and Families, testified about the legislation’s impact on workers.

“Quite simply, H.R. 1180 would be a step in the wrong direction for approximately 59 million hourly, full-time workers as well as for salaried, non-exempt workers who are eligible for overtime pay,” said Ms. Shabo. “Instead of providing working people and their families with the time off and the financial stability they need to care for themselves and their loved ones, this ‘flexibility’ bill offers forced choices and false promises.”

Democrats have offered several, concrete solutions that would strengthen wage and hour laws rather than weaken them. For example, the Healthy Families Act, Schedules that Work Act, and the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act would provide families with paid time off from work and fair schedules without forcing workers to forfeit overtime pay or work excessive hours to spend time with their families.

FULL OPENING STATEMENT: Ranking Member Mark Takano (CA-41)  

FULL TESTIMONY: Ms. Vicki Shabo, National Partnership for Women & Families

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