Comp time bill could cut tax bite

The House voted 223-204 to approve a bill that would allow private-sector workers to do something many public-sector workers already can do: Accumulate compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.

The proposal would let an employee who works more than 40 hours a week the option of saving up to 160 hours of comp time instead of being paid overtime.

Some opponents worry employers could compel workers to bank the comp time instead of getting paid for overtime. Also, there is no way to guarantee workers would be able to take the compensatory time off when they prefer.

Those are legitimate concerns – ones which could be addressed in the legislation. For example, now workers are owed time-and-a-half pay for overtime hours. Comp time could be accumulated at the same rate. Also, workers could have the option of cashing in those accumulated hours at a later date.

Workers already may trade overtime pay for comp time – but within a single pay period. Thus, the biggest difference is the bill would give employees a longer timeframe to use the extra time off.

Perhaps the real reason some in our nation’s capital oppose the bill is due to the big bite taxes can take out of overtime earnings. If so, this measure never will see approval in the Senate, let alone be subject to a presidential veto.