Congressman Bob Gibbs

Representing the 7th District of Ohio

May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013
Columns

This week, the House of Representatives considered the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013” (H.R. 1406).  This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow employers and employees within the private sector the ability to choose between paid time off or overtime pay.  This important legislation would help Americans in the workforce to more easily balance the needs of their families and the demands of their jobs. 

Balancing the responsibilities of family and work is undoubtedly a difficult task for any of us to achieve. The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 is a pro-family bill that allows Americans to spend time with family or use their earned time off for other obligations that are bound to arise from time to time.

Government employees have had the choice of paid time off for over 25 years; why shouldn’t Americans in the private sector have the same courtesy? The Working Families Flexibility Act gives everyone in the workforce the choice to either be paid for overtime, or use it for the other events in our lives that we need to be there for. It gives working parents the flexibility to attend more of their kids’ sporting events and school plays, spend more time with their families, and achieve a healthy work-life balance.

In 1975, 37 percent of families had both parents working; today, 59 percent of families include two working parents.  Times have changed, and it’s time for this outdated law to change, too.  In the past 36 years, 24 percent more mothers have joined the workforce, and 8.5 million workers today are single parents.  It is time for these hardworking Americans to have the choice to use their hard-earned overtime pay to spend valuable time with their children and families. 

Young families are not the only ones who could benefit from this important bill.  One in three undergraduate students works full time.  These hardworking Americans could use the time to study.  Washington should not be dictating how Americans use their overtime pay; it should be up to you.