HR Policy-Supported Work Flexibility Bill Introduced

November 03, 2017

This week, Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) introduced the Workflex in the 21st Century Act (H.R. 4219), which would create a voluntary national framework for employers to provide uniform paid leave benefits and flexible work arrangements to their employees along the lines of our Workplace 2020 proposal.  The HR Policy-supported bill would allow employers to voluntarily offer employees a qualified flexible work arrangement plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that includes: 

  • A federal standard of paid time off for both full- and part-time employees; and 
  • At least one of six possible flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting, flexible and predictable scheduling, and job-sharing programs.
The number of paid leave days in the standard is a sliding scale based on employer size and employee tenure.  For full-time employees of large employers with more than five years' tenure, this would be 20 days, including all forms of paid leave and paid holidays.  Employers could also apply up to six paid holidays to the standard.  Additionally, the leave benefit would have to be prorated for all part-time employees.  Like health care benefits, the ERISA-covered plan would provide a safe harbor against, sundry state and local requirements, enabling multi-state employers to provide uniform benefits instead of varying them in accordance with the growing maze of complex state and local leave laws that are driving up the administrative costs of providing paid leave benefits to employees.  Employee participation in any flexible work arrangement would be voluntary.  HR Policy CEO Dan Yager said, "Today's workforce needs more flexibility, not only so that employees can be available for the needs of their families, but also as a way for employers to attract and retain talent.  We applaud Rep. Walters’ bill as a positive piece of legislation for today's working families and encourage other members of Congress to support it."