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The Flextime Fight



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Under a 1938 law, most hourly workers have to be paid time-and-a-half for any overtime work. House Republicans want to modify the law so that employees can choose to take an hour and a half off for each hour of overtime they work.

Karen DeLoach, a bookkeeper from Montgomery, Alabama, testified before Congress last month that a flextime option would make it easier for her to help out her niece, who has special needs, and to go on mission trips overseas with her church. April is a busy time for her because of tax returns, and she would like to be able to bank hours then for these purposes.

Almost all House Democrats disagree with DeLoach, and voted against the flextime bill. They say it would erode the sacred principle of the 40-hour work week and let unscrupulous employers coerce workers into turning down overtime pay.

My new Bloomberg View column argues that the Democrats’ position is perverse, and evidence of a reflexive hostility to free markets and businessmen.



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