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Lankford Joins Lee to Support Employees’ Flexibility on How to Use Their Overtime

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined an effort let by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and 11 of their colleagues to introduce the Working Families Flexibility Act, which would give employees more flexibility on how to use their overtime benefits.

“COVID-19 has taught our nation that a little flexibility for working families goes a long way,” said Lankford. “Allowing private-sector workers in Oklahoma the flexibility to choose paid time off or work over-time for extra pay is a good step to ensure the private sector and government remain competitive employers. We can and should continue to modernize our technology and our laws to give Oklahomans the opportunity to focus on their families and their careers. I am grateful to partner with my colleagues to encourage new strategies to address the needs of our 21st-century workforce.” 

“For many families, especially those with young children, their most precious commodity is time with each other—and that has never been more challenging to balance with work than during the current pandemic,” said Lee. “For decades, federal labor laws have unfortunately restricted the way parents and workers can use their time, while giving special exemptions from these laws to government employees. This is unacceptable: the same work-life options available to government employees should be available to private-sector workers as well, especially during these challenging times.”

In 1978, Congress passed the Federal Employee Flexible and Compressed Work Schedule Act, providing federal, state, and local governments the ability to give their employees a choice between overtime pay or paid time off for working overtime hours. This legal privilege unfairly discriminates against private-sector workers and impedes those employers who want to offer their employees this flexibility to balance work and family obligations. The Working Families Flexibility Act fixes this disparity by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide employers with the necessary flexibility to allow their employees to choose either the traditional overtime pay or paid time off for any overtime hours worked.

Other cosponsors include Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tim Scott (R-SC), James Risch (R-ID), John Barasso (R-WY), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and John Cornyn (R-TX).