The New Overtime

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

"It sounds to me like the government is trying to be a cure-all for all the nation's ills," says Cindy Williams, Harrisonburg Nautilus Fitness Center. "This isn't the way to do it."

Cindy Williams manages Harrisonburg Nautilus. The welfare of her employees weighs heavily on her. She doesn't believe the Family Time and Workplace Flexibility Act is necessary.

"Individuals need to seek out companies that are going to meet their families needs that can be flexible,” explains Williams.

Labor Relations expert Cathleen Welsh says that's not always so easy.

"I have clients in the private sector who will call and say I have an employee who worked 45-hours this week, and next week he wants off to see his son play ball, can he do that? And I have to tell them no, you can't,” Welsh says.

Under the Family Time and Workplace Flexibility Act, employees can get up to 160-hours in comp time in lieu of overtime pay. Both the employer and the employee have to agree to the comp time. And if the comp time isn't used, the employee must be paid.

"We have so many working families that have one or more working parents and time is often worth more than money," added Welsh.

At Nautilus, employees say they are happy with their current system, and are typically given flexible schedules when needed. But Welsh says for those who aren't as lucky.

"If both the employer and the employee agree that they don't want the overtime, isn't that a win-win for everybody?” Welsh adds.

This is a benefit that's been offered in the public sector for years. The Family Time and Workplace Flexibility Act is expected to be voted in the House sometime this week.

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