Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Alexa Marrero
McMorris Rodgers Statement on H.R. 4855, the “Work-Life Balance Award Act”
Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I too would like to thank our witnesses for appearing today. We appreciate that you have taken the time out of your busy schedules to testify this morning. I would also like to thank the Chairwoman for working to craft this bill in a bipartisan manner, and for having an open dialogue with interested parties throughout this process.
As the Chairwoman noted, H.R. 4855, the “Work-Life Balance Award Act,” would establish an annual award within the Department of Labor to recognize employers with exemplary work-life balance policies. The bill would highlight best practices by employers and encourage innovation in the adoption of work-life balance policies, which we hope will encourage other companies to adopt similar programs.
While the bill has but one stated goal – to recognize employers who are able to creatively meet the needs of their workers in achieving some measure of work-life balance – I hope that we can focus the discussion on ways to encourage employers to accommodate employee requests for greater workplace flexibility, without the use of government mandates that can raise the cost of employment and stifle creative arrangements.
The issue of work-life balance continues to be of concern to a majority of workers. Indeed, a growing number of employers are successfully meeting the demands and needs of their workers through policies designed to provide greater flexibility in the workplace. Most employers understand that having programs in place to address work-life balance issues are effective and necessary.
Without a doubt, job security remains the biggest concern for many workers in today’s struggling economy. Each day, there are stories about employers who have been forced to scale back because of economic conditions and let employees go as a result. Given these difficult circumstances, there is no question that mandating new labor costs on employers will only exacerbate the situation. Ultimately, policies that increase labor costs for employers will have the effect of destroying jobs or limiting opportunities for workers.
I know, as a new mom myself, that one of the biggest struggles working parents face is how to balance work and family responsibilities. Employees are looking for flexibility to get the job done, while also being able to make the school play, stay at home with a sick child, or care for an elderly parent. Employers are looking to stay in business. Consequently, we must carefully balance the costs and benefits for both employers and employees alike.
To that end, I’ve introduced a bill, H.R. 933, the “Family-Friendly Workplace Act,” which will remove a barrier in current law that prevents employers from meeting employee demands for increased workplace flexibility.
The “Family-Friendly Workplace Act” would allow private sector employers to give their employees the option to voluntarily choose paid compensatory time off, known as “comp time,” in lieu of overtime pay. This is something that, by most accounts, has been successful and immensely popular with public sector employees for 25 years.
So as we look at ways to help employers provide greater work-life balance and recognize their efforts, we must do so within the context of today’s fragile economy, and consider options that won’t impede employers’ efforts to create lasting jobs and strengthen the economic future of our country. Again, I welcome our witnesses, and look forward to your testimonies. Thank you Madam Chairwoman.
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