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House advances anti-worker wage bill

This month, Republicans in the House of Representatives brought up a proposed bill that would permit corporations to stop paying workers overtime by instead substituting compensatory time.

House Democrats oppose the bill, claiming that worker protections would be eroded. Representative Anthony Brown, a Democrat from Maryland, addressed the House in a floor speech where he said that the "bill would ensure workers have less time, less flexibility, and less money."

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved the bill last month with a vote split on party lines.

With both the House and the Senate as well as the White House, under Republican control, the proposal is in the best position for being signed into law since its first introduction in 1996. However, the Senate could still prove to be its stumbling block.

The slim margin that the Republicans hold over their Democratic colleagues means that they would still need to win over eight Democrats to override the resulting Democratic filibuster.

As the law stands today, those workers in the private sector who are otherwise eligible must be paid overtime wages of time-and-a-half for the hours worked per week after 40. The Republican bill proposes that overtime could instead be compensated by 90 minutes time off for every extra work hour. Employees could then "bank" this comp time as paid time away from work in the future.

The labor-friendly founder of the Family Values at Work coalition sees the bill as "play[ing] into the hands of bad actors who are already engaging in wage theft -- it gives them another tool,"

If you have been denied overtime pay for the hours that you worked, a California attorney can review your legal options with you.

Source: Bloomberg, "Republicans Try Again to Let Bosses Offer Comp for Overtime," Josh Eidelson, May 02, 2017

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