More or Less Fair? FLSA Overtime Law and Workers' Preferences Regarding Reduced Work Time and Comp Time versus Pay
35 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2007 Last revised: 18 Mar 2008
This paper addresses the on-going controversy regarding whether to allow private sector employers to substitute compensatory (comp) time for premium pay for workers' overtime work hours. It employs data from a unique survey that actually asked over 800 workers their preference for pay vs. future time off, the Work in America Time is of the Essence survey. The results of statistical analysis suggest that workers' relative preference for comp time is significantly weaker if they have jobs or duties that do not appear to exempt from overtime law coverage. Their relative preference is also related to whether time or money is their main problem, their overtime work is voluntary or mandatory and several other workplace, job and demographic characteristics. The results suggest how FLSA overtime law should be reformed and how reforms may benefit rather than harm workers who express a need for more time off from work.
Keywords: Fair Labor Standards Act, Hours of Work, Overtime, Compensatory Time
JEL Classification: K31, J23, J22, J32, J33
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