Although the COVID-19 coronavirus has been designated as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, you still have rights under the ADA. The EEOC has provided guidance consistent with these workplace protections and rules. This publication, which was written during the prior H1N1 outbreak, is still relevant today and identifies established ADA and Rehabilitation Act (which applies to federal employees) principles to answer questions frequently asked about the workplace during a pandemic.
The deliberately misnamed “Working Families Flexibility Act” (H.R. 1180) is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, purporting to offer flexibility to workers when, in reality, it will deprive workers of overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which this bill seeks to amend, currently requires employers to pay eligible workers time-and-a-half if they work over forty hours per week. The law was designed to be a crucial disincentive for employers to overwork and exploit employees.
This new bill would loosen longstanding federal overtime laws and allow employers to borrow workers’ overtime pay interest-free and without any security. In exchange, workers can opt to receive “comp” time—i.e. time off with pay in lieu of pay for overtime work— that they have no guarantee of being able to use as the law does not specify any mechanism for how or when an employee can use the time.
While this bill technically requires employers to pay out employees for unused comp time once a year, if an employer goes out of business, as 400,000 U.S. businesses do each year, workers will be cheated out of hard-earned overtime pay needed to support themselves and their families. This bill dramatically undermines overtime protections and significantly erodes a central purpose of FLSA.
Join us in standing up for workers’ rights and making sure the federal government doesn’t steal overtime pay from working people! Please take two minutes to write a letter to your representative opposing this bill. Every voice counts!