Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Time-off option for workers awaits action by Congress

By John Eckberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Family Time Flexibility Act is alive and waiting to be brought to the floor of Congress for a vote. It is independent of the initiative to bring changes to the definition of who is entitled to overtime.

The act could allow companies and workers to replace overtime cash with time off, and was approved in April by members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

It awaits scheduling by House leaders for floor debate and consideration, said Steve Forde, spokesman for committee chairman Rep. John Boehner, a West Chester Township Republican.

The measure extends changes to the labor law in 1986 that opened the door to compensatory time instead of overtime for public employees.

"It's something federal workers have had for 20 years, and there haven't been any significant problems," Forde said.

The measure is voluntary and must be approved by workers and companies before overtime could be swapped for time off. "If workers value family time, they should have that option," he said.

There is no timetable to bring the matter to a vote.

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