WASHINGTON, DC (May 30, 2003) The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) today urged the U.S. House of Representatives to bring federal labor law in line with the workforce of the 21st century and pass the ‘Family Time’ bill introduced by Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) and approved by the House Education and Workforce Committee.

“The Federal Labor Standards Act hasn’t changed since 1938, at least as it relates to workplace flexibility. It’s time the law was amended to reflect the fact that women of 2003 are just a tad different than women of 1938,” said Deborah Perry, IWF Senior Fellow. “Two-thirds of American women with children under the age of three are currently in the workforce. But if they are hourly workers as opposed to salaried workers they are not allowed to accrue comp or flex time. For these women, going to a child’s school play during work hours, or leaving work to tend to a sick child is out of the question, unless mom can live with a smaller paycheck. That’s the reality women working on the clock face today thanks to a 65-year-old law: ignore your children’s needs or take home less pay to help feed your family.”

Under ‘Family Time’ if the employer and the employee agree or in union shops, the union and the employer agree to allow the employee to start accruing overtime hours as compensatory or family time, the employee has the option of banking up to 160 hours that he or she can use at a later time as time-and-a-half off. The bill allows an employee to cancel the agreement at any time, and it provides protection against employer coercion of employees to accrue or use comp time.

“Unfortunately, the unions are fighting this bill. Most unfortunately, so is the National Organization for Women,” added Perry. “We can’t help but wonder: what women does NOW represent? Certainly not hourly working women who are struggling to balance employment and family.”

Independent Women’s Forum, founded in 1992, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.