Monday, May 6, 2013

Comp Time Bill Is a Bait-and-Switch

From a Star Tribune op-ed ('Comp Time' Bill Is No Treat for Workers) to appear in Tuesday's paper:

The bill also discourages the hiring of new workers. What employer would hire new personnel to get the job done, when it can require mandatory overtime from its existing employees? Under this bill, existing employees will likely have to work longer hours, giving them less time with their families, not more.

Employees theoretically have the right to refuse comp time in lieu of overtime wages. Put yourself in that situation. You and a fellow employee are looking to advance in the company. The employer offers overtime to each of you. You agree to the overtime, but request your pay in cash; your fellow employee agrees to comp time. Which employee do you think is likely to advance in the company? Accepting comp time instead of wages would hardly be voluntary. Rather, it would increase the adversarial environment in a company, both between employer and employee and also among employees.

But, Kline argues, employees who take their comp time will be able to spend more time with their families at their leisure. Not so. Employers have up to 30 days to honor a comp time request. That means that if a single mom and her employer cannot come to an agreement on her schedule, she might have to work 60 hours this week, when she’s available, but also 60 hours next week, when she’d rather be off spending time with her kids. There is no guarantee that a worker gets any “comp time” when he or she needs or wants time off.

The bill also would incentivize employers to cut back on paid vacation and holiday pay. Why give two days off at Thanksgiving when you can just pressure workers to take their comp time? Why pay two weeks of vacation? Isn’t one enough when your employees can just save and use their comp time?
There's a reason we settled on overtime payment back in the day. If the bill allowed time-and-a-half accrual of comp time and let the worker control when the time is taken, it might be worth discussing, but employers are never going to give up the right to control the schedules of hourly workers.

1 comment:

Minnesota Central said...

There are a number of problems with Chairman Kline's proposal ...
my reaction to the OpEd and the legislation.

This is classic Chairman Kline -- who should be working on a Education Reform that is past due and Stafford Loans interest rates that will double in less than two months, but instead he is pushing legislation that is entirely optional and a bureaucratic nightmare.

Yes, #CompTime is a Bait-and-Switch.

Your readers who want to know more about this, can learn from this video.