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John Hollenhorst reportingIf you had the choice of trading money for time, which would you take?
That's the heart of a Congressional battle over labor laws which currently forbid workers and their bosses from making that choice.
It's been on the books since 1938: If you work overtime, you get overtime pay at the rate of time-and-a-half. It's illegal for your boss to give you compensating Time Off instead of money.
So-called Comp Time is preferred by many workers. And a bill working its way through Congress would finally allow employers to grant it... instead of paying for overtime. The change is supported by many employers who prefer flexibility in scheduling their workers. But it's being fought bitterly by many labor and consumer advocates who say time-and-a-half overtime pay is one of the most important worker protections there is.
Supporters of the Family Time Flexibility Act say workers will be adequately compensated for their extra hours.
Tom Bingham/Utah Manufacturers Association: "AN HOUR AND A HALF FOR EVERY HOUR THAT THEY WORK. AND IT IS A VOLUNTARY THING. AND THAT'S WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT IT. IT'S VERY FLEXIBLE, IT HAS TO BE AGREED BY BOTH THE EMPLOYER AND THE EMPLOYEE."
But critics say workers who often rely on that extra money will be subject to pressure from their bosses.
Tim Shultz/Policy Analyst, Utah Issues: "AND SO ONE OF THE THiNGS WERE AFRAID OF IS THAT EMPLOYERS WILL BE IN A POSITION OF, I DON'T WANT TO SAY "BULLYING", THAT'S PROBABLY TOO STRONG A WORD. BUT PUSHING THEIR EMPLOYEES TO ACCEPT SOMETHING THAT MAY NOT BE IN THEIR BEST INTEREST TO ACCEPT."
The bill is headed toward a vote in the House after Memorial Day.