Flextime? Don’t Hold Your Breath.

Bush Plans Flextime Proposal Washington Post 7/30/04
“President Bush plans to announce Friday that he wants to make flextime more available to the nation’s workers….
“His aides did not give details about what he will propose beyond saying that he wants to give parents more chances to participate in their children’s lives by letting workers accrue hours that they could take off later.”
I really think they are so clueless that they didn’t think this through, and so have no idea how radical it would be. But they will find out fast, if they actually try to introduce it as legislations. Business will instantly and ruthlessly shut it down.
Why Radical?
1. Flextime has little relevance to “nonexempt” (i.e. non-salaried) workers, because they are already compensated for the overtime they work They are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for working more then eight hours in a day. In the terms of flextime, that is six hours off in return for four overtime hours “accrued.”
All that new legislation could add to this would be for workers to have the right to unilaterally insist on time off on other days, even when the employer does not choose to permit it. That is not going to happen. For one thing, it is too plausible that management needs to retain control of critical production schedules.
2. So flextime (aka the dimly remembered “comp time”) applies primarily to “exempt” (i.e., salaried) workers, who now are routinely compelled to work overtime without any pay at all, neither time-and-a-half nor straight-time. (This is part of the great Productivity Miracle US business has so famously conjured up.)
If flextime were in force, all those invisible free hours that salaried people are already working would suddenly have to be (gasp!) recorded, and equivalent hours off allowed in return for them, with no loss in pay.
Business will never allow this to be adopted. And all the institutions that might normally endorse this general kind of a reform will remain silent, because the newspapers, TV stations, etc. are among the worst exploiters of uncompensated work.