For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 5, 2004
Fact Sheet: America's Workforce: Ready for the 21st Century
In Focus: Jobs and Economy
"These are exciting times for our country. It's a time of amazing change. The economy is changing. The world is changing
We need to make sure government changes with the times, and to work for America's working families." - President George W. Bush, July 30, 2004
Today's Presidential Action:
- Today, President Bush called on Congress to pass legislation giving American workers more options to help families better juggle the demands of work and home through comp-time and flex-time.
- Comp-Time enables employees to choose paid time off as an alternative to overtime pay. Therefore, a worker who opts for comp-time and works 8 hours of overtime is entitled to 12 hours off (1.5 hours off per every hour of overtime).
- Flex-Time gives an employee the option of "flexing" his or her schedule over a pay period, by scheduling more than 40 hours of work in one week, and then scheduling less than 40 hours in the following week. For example, an employee may request to work 48 hours one week in a two-week pay period to offset a paid day off during the following week to chaperone a child's school trip.
The Challenge: More Parents are Working than Ever Before
Today's workforce has changed dramatically over the last fifty years. More parents are working now than ever before.
- In 2002, women accounted for over 47 percent of the labor force, up from 29 percent in 1950.
- In 2002, the labor force participation rate for married mothers with children under 6 years of age was over 63 percent, up from 11 percent in 1950.
- In 2002, over 71 percent of all mothers with children under the age of 18 worked.
- In 2002, 18.4 million married families with children, almost 68 percent, had both parents working. In over 55 percent of these families, the women were working full-time, year-round.
President Bush's Plan: Promoting Flexibility in the Workplace
Many of the Nation's labor laws were designed a generation ago. Provisions in these laws do not fit today's changing workplace, and do not give workers the flexibility to spend more time with their families. For some families, the most valuable commodity is extra time, and these families should have options.
- Background on Fair Labor Standards Act: The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) determines the national standards for wages and hours of work. Under current law, a private sector employee covered by the FLSA cannot choose time off (comp-time or flex-time) as an alternative to receiving overtime pay. However, the FLSA does permit government employees to choose such flexible scheduling options. In 2001, 34.4 percent of Federal employees and 29.7 percent of state employees chose workplace flexibility.
- The President's Plan: The President urges Congress to amend the FLSA to provide private-sector workers the same flexible scheduling options that government employees already enjoy. Now that more families have both parents in the workforce, American workers need more control over their work schedules. Providing choices like whether to receive overtime pay as cash or as paid time off will enable workers to juggle more effectively the demands of the workplace with the needs of their children, aging parents, and other factors.
- Comp-Time enables employees to choose paid time off as an alternative to overtime pay.
- Flex-Time gives an employee the option of "flexing" his or her schedule over a pay period, by scheduling more than 40 hours of work in one week, and then scheduling less than 40 hours in the following week.
- Ensuring Employee Protections by making the program voluntary and honoring collective bargaining agreements.
- Promoting Telework: The Bush Administration, through the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration, has implemented a number of initiatives to promote telework in Federal agencies. Between the first telework survey taken in April 2001 and October 2003, the number of employees teleworking grew from more than 53,000 employees to almost 103,000 employees, an overall increase of 93 percent. In addition, the President's FY 2005 budget includes $5 million for the Department of Labor to encourage greater use of scheduling flexibility and telework options in the private sector.