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Bonamici Opposes House-Passed Bill Stripping Overtime Pay From Workers

May 2, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC [05/02/17] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) voted against legislation that could result in workers losing overtime pay. The Working Families Flexibility Act would allow employers to give workers compensatory time (“comp time”) in lieu of overtime pay (time-and-a-half pay) when the employees work more than forty hours a week.

You can watch short remarks Bonamici delivered on the House floor here.

“Parents want and need to take time off with their families and their loved ones, but they shouldn’t have to forfeit their hard-earned overtime pay to do so,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “This bill is called the Working Families Flexibility Act, but the title doesn’t reveal what workers have to give up for the supposed flexibility. In fact, this bill will take away overtime pay, and instead, workers get a vague IOU for comp time sometime in the future – and only if the comp time does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer. This bill will also permit employers to withhold workers’ overtime pay and keep any interest earned on it.”

Bonamici, the Vice Ranking Member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, offered an amendment during the committee markup of the bill to require employers to pay any interest on overtime pay to the employee. This would have allowed workers the ability to earn interest on their hard-earned wages, but the Committee did not adopt the amendment. Other members offered amendments that would have provided real solutions for workers – paid sick days, fair work schedules, and strengthened overtime protections.

Bonamici continued, “Our workplace policies have not kept up with our changing workforce. At a time when too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet and provide a better future for their families, it’s discouraging that Congress has passed a bill to threaten their economic security. We should be considering policy changes that support workers, such as providing meaningful schedule flexibility, letting workers earn sick days and paid family leave, and raising stagnant wages so Americans can better balance work and family life. The so-called Working Families Flexibility Act is not a solution.”

Bonamici has taken an active role in advancing policies that support working families. In 2015, she hosted former Labor Secretary Tom Perez during a visit Oregon to learn about the state’s paid leave policies. In Congress, she has previously introduced legislation calling for universal affordable child care. As a leader of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Bonamici has introduced legislation to reduce student loan defaults, and she’s leading opposition to the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back consumer protections for student loan borrowers.