May 09, 2013

ABC: Congressman Southerland backing bill that would “cut worker pay”

Congressman Steve Southerland said he’d change Washington, but all he’s done is gone Washington – and this morning WTXL caught him in the act: reporting that Congressman Steve Southerland is backing the “The Pay Working Families Less Act” which would “cut workers pay with no guarantee of paid vacation days when employees need to use them. The Pay Working Families Less Act…would allow employers to pay their workers nothing extra for overtime work other than comp time that can only be used at the employers discretion.”

See for yourself here or below.

 

TRANSCRIPT

“Congressman Steve Southerland is backing a bill that would cut workers pay with no guarantee of paid vacation days when employees need to use them. The Pay Working Families Less Act proposed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would allow employers to pay their workers nothing extra for overtime work other than comp time that can only be used at the employer's discretion. House Republicans say the bill would help working families but critics say it undermines overtime and gives workers little flexibility.”

BACKGROUND

Congressman Southerland Voted for the “Pay Working Families Less Act.” [HR 1406, Vote #137, 5/08/13]

Center for Economic and Policy Research: Bill Would “Undermine the 40-Hour Work Week” and Would Provide “Employers With a Powerful Incentive to Increase Workers’ Overtime Hours.” According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research: “The proposed legislation undermines the 40-hour work week that workers have long relied on to give them time to spend with their kids. The flexibility in this comp time bill would have employees working unpaid overtime hours beyond the 40-hour workweek and accruing as many as 160 hours of compensatory time. A low-paid worker making $10 an hour who accrued that much comp time in lieu of overtime pay would effectively give his or her employer an interest-free loan of $1,600 – equal to a month’s pay. That’s a lot to ask of a worker making about $20,000 a year. Indeed, any worker who accrues 160 hours of comp time will in effect have loaned his or her employer a month’s pay. This same arithmetic provides employers with a powerful incentive to increase workers’ overtime hours.” [The Hill, 4/08/13]

Center for Economic and Policy Research: Proposal Would “Likely Increase Overtime Hours For Those Who Don’t Want Them and Cut Pay For Those Who Do.” In an op-ed submitted to the Huffington Post a senior economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research wrote: “Touted by Republicans as a new comp time initiative that will give hourly-paid workers the flexibility to meet family responsibilities, it is neither new nor about giving these workers much needed time off to care for their families. The bill rehashes legislation Republicans passed in the House in 1997, some 16 years ago, and that they introduced again in most subsequent Congresses. Its major effect would be to hamstring workers -- likely increasing overtime hours for those who don't want them and cutting pay for those who do.” [Huffington Post, 4/16/13]

National Partnership for Women and Families: “You Have No Ability to Take That Leave When You Need It. The Employer Can Decide.” In a statement to the Chicago Tribune, a senior advisor for the National Partnership for Women & Families said: “It should be called the Employer Flexibility Act, because at every turn here, the employer gets to decide… It pretends to provide a set of options to employees. But even if they elect to take the comp time instead of wages, when they can take it is fully at the discretion of the employer. You have no ability to take that leave when you need it. The employer can decide.” [Chicago Tribune, 4/22/13]

9to5: Bill is a “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” That Would “Ensure Workers Have Less Time, Less Flexibility and Less Money.” In a statement, the executive director of 9to5 said: “Much like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the falsely cloaked Working Families Flexibility Act would hurt, not help, families. The Working Families Flexibility Act, a true misnomer, would in reality ensure workers have less time, less flexibility and less money.” [9to5, 4/11/13]

House Republicans Have Unsuccessfully Pushed to Gut the Fair Labor Standards Act for More Than a Decade. According to New York Magazine: “Similar legislation has been bouncing around Capitol Hill for years; one recent attempt died in committee in 2003. In the past, Democrats argued that the proposed legislation would only weaken overtime rights, because the comp time will be controlled by employers, who may also discriminate against employees who want to be paid their overtime wages in cash. Democrats also have an alternate plan for making sure moms ‘don't have to choose between work and family’: Demand employers offer family-friendly leave policies and pay overtime wages.” [New York Magazine, 4/30/13]

 


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