LATHAM REPORT: GIVING ALL HARDWORKING IOWANS THE CHOICE THEY HAVE EARNED: "TIME OR MONEY"
My parents taught me the importance of “family first”. My mother and father taught the principle to me and my brothers as they raised us and the family farm in Alexander, Iowa. I have continued to hold the "family first" principle highly as we raised our own children and grew and ran the family seed business and even during my work representing Iowans in Congress.
Regardless of what job you hold, the universal reality of working parents is that balancing the requirements of family life and work is tough. We’ve all heard before that “there aren’t enough hours in the day,” and there are times when that couldn’t be truer. Emergencies arise, can’t-miss events and milestones fill up our calendars, and even the simpler things can be difficult to fit in — a doctor’s appointment, caring for an elder or a loved one, a tee ball game, and then some.
Your time is precious, and millions of Americans wish they could have more of it. So in keeping with my belief of "family first", I voted with a majority of my colleagues in the U.S. House this past week to provide working moms, dads, daughters and sons greater flexibility between the household and the workplace.
The Working Families Flexibility Act would change an outdated labor law to give private-sector employees the choice between overtime pay and paid time off, or “comp time”, as compensation for working overtime hours. Such workers have lacked this benefit even though many federal and state public-sector employees have enjoyed it for nearly three decades, and there’s no reason why the law should distinguish between the two groups on this issue.
This bill is pro-family, commonsense and easy to understand. And, it expands this choice for all workers while protecting every employee protection already in federal law. The 40-hour work week is preserved, and overtime compensation is accrued just the same.
Also, this choice is completely voluntary. The bill protects workers by requiring an employer and its employee to sign a written agreement in order to approve and use comp time. This ensures that comp time requests are made knowingly and voluntarily, leaving no room for an employer to go behind a worker’s back or coerce a worker into taking paid leave as compensation for overtime.
This landmark working family rights bill is about helping workers. The author of the bill, Alabama Congresswoman Martha Roby, is a working mother of two children who understands the value of time. And while it’s true that employers are the ones who need the flexibility to grant comp time under the law, employees are the ones to request it and take advantage of it.
I supported this bill because overtime is your time - and you should be able to have the same choice that state and federal workers have to receive that time back as compensation or in cash wages. Because of this bill, it would be your choice - a choice that you and your family have earned.