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Family Time

Two very different bills regarding employee time off attempt to woo working families.

This story appears in the October 1996 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

This election season, both parties are working hard to cozy up to working parents. Democrats are pushing to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and legalize employer use of comp time. A House Committee has passed a Republican-backed "Working Families Flexibility Act" whose comp time provisions are greatly preferred by small business.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires overtime pay for employees who work more than 40 hours a week. Many small-business owners would prefer to give these workers comp time instead, but that is prohibited under the FSLA. These employers also want employees to be able to work 60 hours one week and 20 the next, for an average of 40 hours per pay period, without paying them time and a half for the extra 20 hours they worked in the first week. The House bill (H.R. 2391), which passed a committee vote on June 26, allows that. For any hours worked beyond the averaged 40-hour weeks, an employee could take up to 30 days a year in comp time or cash that out at time-and-a-half whenever he or she wants.

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