States Take Up Major Change To OT Law
February 28, 2011 by Jim Giuliano
Giving employers the option of substituting comp time for overtime compensation is one of the business-friendly ideas that has been kicking around Washington. Now, some of the state legislatures are giving the idea a close look, too.
The latest to take up the cause is Ohio. A state House committee there sent a bill to the full House allowing small businesses to offer compensatory time instead of overtime pay. The bill would affect companies with annual sales of less than $500,000. Supporters say it would give smaller employers the same wage flexibility available to larger businesses. State and federal laws now bar companies of all sizes from substituting comp time for OT pay; typically one-and-a-half times base hourly pay, for nonexempt employees.
The Ohio bill would give employees the option of accepting comp time or OT pay.
Opponents of the bill say it’s basically a repeal of overtime pay, and that it leaves employees open to retaliation if they say no when the boss offers comp time instead of extra pay for hours worked over 40.
Similar proposals have been floating around Washington, including a letter from the HR Policy Association to the Secretary of Labor suggesting comp time and other changes to long-standing labor laws.