The President will veto H.R. 1 if it is passed in its current form. The
President will not sign H.R. 1, or any other comp time legislation, unless it
adheres to three fundamental principles: (1) real choice for workers; (2) real
protection against employer abuse; and (3) preservation of workers' rights.
H.R. 1 purports to give working families greater flexibility. In reality, it
grants employers more rights at the expense of working people:
The Administration supports the substitute amendment to be offered by
Representative George Miller, although procedural obstacles in the House have
prevented the amendment from addressing all of the important issues that need
to be treated, including expansion of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The
Administration strongly believes that any legislation to authorize compensatory
time under the Fair Labor Standards Act should be linked to expansion of the
FMLA. Expanding the FMLA to give working families greater flexibility to
foster the education of their children or provide routine health care for their
children or elderly relatives will go a long way toward achieving the stated
goals of H.R. 1.
- H.R. 1 fails to offer workers real choice. In particular, H.R. 1 would
allow an employer to decide when a worker could use his or her compensatory
time-off by disapproving such time-off if the employer claims it would
"unduly disrupt" its operations. In addition, H.R. 1 would permit an employer
to "cash out" a worker's earned compensatory time over 80 hours.
- H.R. 1 fails to protect workers against employer abuse. For example, H.R.
1 offers inadequate protections for vulnerable workers and part-time, seasonal,
and temporary employees, including garment and construction workers, and those
who are employed in industries with histories of Fair Labor Standards Act
violations. H.R. 1 also fails to prohibit employers from substituting
compensatory time-off for paid vacation or sick leave benefits. Furthermore,
H.R. 1 lacks meaningful remedies for workers when employers penalize them for
electing to receive overtime pay in lieu of compensatory time-off. In
addition, H.R. 1 contains inadequate worker safeguards in cases where an
employer goes bankrupt or out-of-business.
- H.R. 1 fails to preserve workers' rights. Workers who take compensatory
time-off can be forced to work additional overtime in the same week -- even on
the weekend -- without being paid overtime premium pay.
The Miller amendment, however, would ensure real employee choice, by adding
crucial provisions not found in H.R. 1. For example, employers that adopt comp
time programs would have to make comp time available to similarly-situated
employees on a fair and non-discriminatory basis. Working families are
guaranteed real protection against possible comp time abuse through the Miller
Furthermore, the Miller amendment would preclude employers from using comp time
to modify or reduce existing paid leave plans. It would entitle employees
choosing comp time to get regular statements of their accrual and use of comp
time; put a reasonable limit on the number of hours of comp time that can be
accrued; and allow employees to seek damages when they incur costs because an
employer wrongfully denies them use of the comp time they earned. The
Secretary of Labor would have the authority to bar employers with a pattern and
practice of comp time abuse from continuing to offer comp time. H.R. 1 has
none of these protections. These are all improvements to H.R. 1 that guarantee
the legislation enhances rather than decreases flexibility for America's