The two new bills in Congress that should be on every employer’s radar

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After some Monday clickbait and yesterday’s doppelgänger edition, I’d like to be serious with today’s post.

***fart***

You say overtime; I say comp time.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, when a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek, that employee gets paid overtime at time-and-a-half the regular rate of pay. Under the FLSA, a private-sector employer cannot provide that employee with comp time in lieu of overtime — even if the employee agrees.

To the few of you who are now furiously clutching your pearls, I’m sorry. I didn’t make the rules. Indeed, a few years ago, House Republicans proposed and passed a bill that would have changed the rules and allowed private-sector employees to swap overtime for comp time. However, that jawn never made it to President Obama for his signature.

Well, guess what’s back, yo! It’s the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017. It just sounds so warm and fuzzy. I mean, the only thing that could top it would be to rename it the Working Families Warm and Fuzzy Flexibility Act of 2017.

Actually, that just sounds creepy.

But, the less creepy version that is now pending in both the House and Senate would permit a worker in the private sector to elect to receive compensatory time off at a rate not less than one and one-half hours for each hour of employment for which overtime compensation would otherwise be owed.

SHRM supports it. Since it’s the employee who gets to say yay or nay to comp time in lieu of overtime, I like it too. I like it a lot.

A federal Ban the Box law.

Many states and cities, Philadelphia for example, have made it unlawful for employers to ask about criminal backgrounds during the job application process.

Last week, a small bipartisan group in Washington introduced the Fair Chance Act, which would prohibit Federal agencies and Federal contractors from requesting that an applicant for employment disclose criminal history record information before the applicant has received a conditional offer, and for other purposes. There’s more in this press release from the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.

While the purpose of ban the box legislation is to reduce the barriers to employment for minorities, there is research that shows that these laws may have the reverse effect. For more on 2017 Employment Screening Trends, check out this SHRM article.

Whatever screen policies you may have, make sure:

  1. They comply with FCRA;
  2. They comply with state and local law;
  3. You have good business reason for screening; and
  4. They are applied consistently and evenly across the board.

 

Updated:
  • Comp time in lieu of overtime and at overtime equivalent hours sounds like a time-tracking nightmare.