Media Statement: 9to5 Statement on the Working Families Flexibility Act
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Susan Berryman-Rodriguez, 9to5 (404) 222-0030
(Washington, DC) – Today’s Hearing on the Working Families Flexibility Act before the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in the United States House of Representatives
9to5 National Executive Director Linda Meric released the following statement in response:
“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 opposes this proposal because workers would first be forced to spend more time away from their families in exchange for possibly getting to spend time later with their families. Under this proposal, the employer, not the employee, determines when earned comp time can be used. In other words, a low-wage working mother could be forced to work 50 hours one week during Spring Break when her children are off from school and in exchange for the overtime work get 10 hours off another week when they are back in school. This may be flexibility for the employer, but it would cost the employee extra money for childcare, less money in overtime earnings and less time with her family.
Low-wage workers frequently rely on their overtime earnings to make ends meet. Employers currently steal billions of dollars annually from workers in unpaid overtime compensation. This problem would be exacerbated by this proposal because it would become easier for employers to avoid overtime compensation obligations. Although the bill provides the right to sue in court, low-wage workers lack the resources necessary to engage in costly and protracted litigation, and fear retaliation or losing their jobs. And under this proposal, there are no protections for employees to receive the value of their earned comp time if their employer goes out of business or goes bankrupt.
Finally, workers already have some flexibility because of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Currently, employers can and some do allow employees to rearrange their schedules to fit in a school recital or doctor’s appointment. And those who work a lot of overtime and don’t need more money can be allowed to take unpaid days off.
9to5 members, along with the thousands of women and men who call our toll-free national helpline annually, are desperate for more time with their families, more control over their schedules, and sufficient earnings to be economically secure. If Congress is serious about wanting to support real flexibility for working families, then they should support guaranteed paid sick days, equal pay measures, fair scheduling practices, national paid family and medical leave insurance, a fair minimum wage, and expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act.
The bill’s sponsors need to get real and drop the pretense. This bill does nothing to make life work for families, it just makes life harder.”
Click here to read the full-length copy of Linda Meric’s official testimony before the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections regarding the Working Families Flexibility Act.
About 9to5: With forty years’ experience in winning justice for working women, 9to5 leads the way to create a powerful force for change on issues affecting low-wage women and their families. 9to5 organizes women to lead campaigns for family-supporting jobs with decent wages and paid sick days; stronger protections against workplace discrimination; and a strong safety net for low-income families. As one of the largest, most respected national membership organizations of working women in the U.S., we’ve won real changes since the hit song and movie based on 9to5 hit the charts. To learn more or to get involved, visit 9to5.org and find us on Facebook and Twitter.