House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Henrico) continued his series of policy roll outs designed to get government out of the way of people's lives. His "making life work" proposals deal with lifestyle issues outside of the typical battles on Capitol Hill over taxes, budget and social issues.
Cantor is proposing the Federal Government lift the restriction on private employers to allow their hourly employees to pick between comp time or overtime pay to compensate for working above and beyond the traditional work week. That flexibility is currently available to public sector employees.
In an interview from Capitol Hill, Cantor told me that many families have both parents working outside of the home and being able to choose to take extra time, as opposed to money would be make their lives easier.
"You're actually available to take your work time and your comp time so you can save it up and maybe go to a pediatricians appointment with your child, go to a parent teacher conference or help and elderly relative that may need you when they are sick," Cantor said.
The proposal does have its detractors. Liberal groups believe the concept is designed to put power in the hands of employers to pressure their workers into turning down overtime and then force them to take comp time only when it benefits the company.
"Not only would this bill make it more difficult for working families to get the predictable, flexible schedules they need," said Debra Ness of the National Partnership for Women and Families in a statement. "But it would also mean less money and fewer wage and hour protections for workers who need them most."
Many of those groups accuse Cantor of oppossing their proposals designed to help working families, like a boost to the minimum wage and the Family Medical Leave Act.
Cantor told me that the decision will be a mutual one between the employer and employee, but the ultimate decision will be up to the worker and they can choose one or the other whenever they would like.
"The employee would always have the choice to have the time and half overtime or the time and half comp time," Cantor said.
The bill easily passed the House this afternoon and is now headed to the Senate. Cantor said he has had some positive conversations about getting the bill through the Senate. It could have a tougher sled in the White House, where the administration has expressed reservations about the concept.
We caught Rep. Cantor for a brief chat on Capitol Hill Wednesday night. The full interview can be seen below:
Cantor's office invited several business leaders from the 7th district to a round table discussion on the pros and cons of the plan. His office provided a video reaction to the proceedings.
Here is what Nicole Lambert the owner of Rainbow Station, an early childhood education center in Glenn Allen, had to say. Rep. Cantor mentions Ms. Lambert's contribution to the round table discussion in our interview.
Again, this video was captured and provided to us by the Congressman's staff: