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Wednesday, April 5, marked the first time in SHRM history that two of its members testified before the same committee hearing in the U.S. Congress. The House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing to discuss Congresswoman Martha Roby's (R-AL) Working Families Flexibility Act, which would allow private-sector employers the option of offering compensable or "comp time" programs to their hourly employees. The bill would allow employees the choice of receiving cash payments for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week, as they do today, or taking paid time off for overtime hours worked.
Leslie Christ, SHRM-CP, chief human resource officer at WellStone Behavioral Health (pictured below on the far left), highlighted how the majority of her employees, who are nonexempt, would benefit from having the choice to select paid time off rather than overtime pay to better meet their work/life balance needs. "[W]hile I believe many of WellStone's hourly workers would choose to participate in a comp time program, it is important that this bill provides employees the choice of whether to take paid leave or cash wages for overtime hours worked."
Crystal Frey, SHRM-SCP, vice president of human resources at Continental Realty Corporation (CRC), (pictured above, second from left), explained how having the opportunity to offer comp time would complement her company's other workplace flexibility offerings that bolster recruitment and retention efforts. "I believe a key to recruiting and retaining top talent is the ability to have a flexible workplace policy that meets the needs of our employees and the business imperatives of CRC. We are invested in our workforce, and at CRC we are always looking for additional opportunities to provide employees with flexibility." She continued, "The bill we are here to discuss today would do just that." Both Christ and Frey are members of the SHRM Advocacy Team.
SHRM has a long record of supporting efforts to extend comp time to the private sector; it has been available in the public sector for more than three decades. Because comp time under the Working Families Flexibility Act is voluntary for both employers and employees, this legislation meets SHRM's core workplace flexibility principle—that to be effective, the policy must work for employers and employees alike.
The committee is expected to mark up this bill in the near future with full House consideration expected shortly thereafter.
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