Private companies will be able to offer hourly employees paid leave time instead of overtime pay, if Congress passes a bill as is expected. It is currently illegal for private companies to offer such trades, even though the option has been open to public companies since 1985. Under the new rules, an employee would sign a voluntary agreement to trade comp time for overtime pay, capped at 160 hours of comp time per year.
Estimated number of private hourly workers who could trade overtime pay for comp time: 75%
Republicans say the legislation is long overdue because workers want more time with their families. Labor unions and some Democrats fear the bill threatens standards like the 40-hour workweek. But, the Labor Department notes, many private companies have been making under-the-table trades for years. The bill, if it becomes law, would legalize the procedure. Though polls show a majority of workers still prefer time-and-a-half pay, the percentage who would accept time off instead has been growing.
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