NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Allowing "Flextime" As Compensation

January 14, 1997

Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) says he will introduce a bill to update current labor law to allow working parents more flexible job schedules. He would update the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, which makes it illegal to allow a worker to take time off in one week and make up the missed hours in the next week.

  • At the time the law was passed, less than 16 percent of married women worked outside the home.
  • Today, three-quarters of working women have school-age children and many of the mothers are single.
  • At present, private-sector workers who can't make up missed working hours get the time off deducted from their paychecks.

Ashcroft notes that labor unions strongly oppose any change to existing laws.

Here are some features of the Working Families Relief Act which he plans to introduce.

  • Workers could choose time-and-a-half off instead of time-and-a-half pay for hours worked.
  • Work hours missed in one week could be made up by working extra hours in another week.
  • Workers could "bank" working hours over several weeks in exchange for extra days off.
  • Workers could take leave for any reason -- so long as their employers agreed.

Ashcroft points out that his plan differs from that of President Clinton in that workers would not suffer a docked paycheck in order to spend time with their families. Rather, his plan is similar to that which President Clinton extended to members of the executive branch of government in 1993, but which, says Ashcroft, Clinton is not willing to make available to all Americans.

Source: Sen. John Ashcroft, "Time or Money: Clinton's False Dichotomy," Investor's Business Daily, January 14, 1997.


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