We Should Probably Look at the Working Families Flexibility Act Too
Nicole Dieker

In theory, this bill sounds great. People who need or want more money can take it, and people who need or want comp time can take it. Businesses have to opt in, so if a company decides that it doesn’t want to participate, it doesn’t have to offer comp time. That being said, I can’t imagine that many workers will take the comp time when so many employers have a way of saying, “Wait, you want to take that comp time *now*? Sorry.” And though the WFFA specifies that employers can’t retaliate against employees for choosing one option over the other, I can’t imagine that employers that have busy times won’t pressure employees to work overtime during busy times, opt in to comp time, and take the comp time during slow hours, when the employer sees fit to have less staff around. Employees who want the cash may find themselves getting lower performance reviews, fewer shifts, etc., because, after all, retaliation can be difficult to prove. And employees who want to use their comp time to pick little Susie up from school or stay home with Carlos when he has the flu — the “family” stuff referred to in the act’s title — will most likely find themselves without that option unless those activities coincide with the time an employer wants its employees to take. Employees who object may also be singled out for retaliation.

Of course, that’s not to say that the right employer — one that treats its employees well and can afford to provide some flexibility — can’t use the new comp time feature for everyone’s benefit.