Just in time for summer: Fight over 'flextime'

Published Monday, May 27, 2013 / The Five

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," May 27, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: So, a TripAdvisor survey says that 85 percent of the Americans are packing their bags heading off on vacation this summer, but to take a vacation, but most people have to get time off of work. Does it sound like a good deal?

Listen, exchange your overtime pay for some days off instead. Republican Congresswoman Martha Roby, a married mother of two, has introduced a bill in Congress that would allow employers to offer their workers so-called flex time. The Working Families Flexibility Act passed the House.

Now, Roby is calling on the Senate to pass it, too. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MARTHA ROBY, R-ALA.: It's about any mom or dad and they'll tell you they wish they had more time. They wish they had just one more hour in the day to make life work. Moms and dads need to find time to take their child to doctor, attend a PTA meetings or make it to a T-ball game.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: But not everyone is happy about the idea. Some Democrats, like Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, say the bill is, quote, "an assault on worker's wages and the 40-hour workweek."

Kimberly, let me give a little background. So, in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act is passed. And it says that you cannot, as an employer, you have to pay employee at least 50 percent more than what they were getting in the hours that they worked. And the normal work hours.

But over the years, there was a law passed that exempted state and local employees from being under that so a lot of them do have this flexibility.

Under this legislation, you could choose, instead of getting time and a half, you could get -- or pay and a half, you could get time and a half. So instead of like an hour, so you get 1.5 hours of pay, would you get 1.5 hours off, instead that you could use. And a lot of families are just saying, well, this just makes sense.

For you, though, you told me something interesting the other day. If you had at choice, the money or the time off, what would you take?

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: I would take the money.

PERINO: You think that money?

GUILFOYLE: But I mean, anybody who knows me, you would think that. I mean, I don't --

PERINO: You are frugal --

GUILFOYLE: I don't take vacation -- I want to just -- I'd rather work and be paid for it.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: What do you mean you have -- you were at beach made up?

GUILFOYLE: What are you talking --

BECKEL: There was a picture of you at the beach with your makeup on.

GUILFOYLE: Where did you see this?

PERINO: No, but that was over the weekend.

(LAUGHTER)

BRIAN KILMEADE, GUEST CO-HOST: Now, I'm totally confused.

PERINO: Eric, in the private sector, if you want to compete for employees, some employees want this? Do you think that it's bizarre for Democrats to oppose this legislation? The White House says that they will veto it if it comes to the desk.

The private sector is saying, well, why don't we just have the same opportunity that the government has?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: You and I talked about this a lot, free markets. Let the businesses decide if they want to pay the people money or give time off.

It will cost them just as much to hire replacements to the people you gave them off.

I'm a bad example. I would take the money too.

GUILFOYLE: Yes.

PERINO: I'm shocked.

BOLLING: We can get like five weeks off and --

GUILFOYLE: You don't use it ever.

BOLLING: I use one week each of the last two years --

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: A lot of people that work hourly, they don't have five weeks off.

BECKEL: That is exactly right. First of all, you don't take your time off because you don't want to get off the shows. But leaving that aside, this is exactly the wrong idea. Most people who get hourly wages depend on time and a half in order to make it through a year's living, because they don't make enough money --

PERINO: But if you have a choice? What's wrong with having a choice?

BECKEL: Well, if you have a choice, the question is whether some people are going to suggest, some of these employers are going to say take the choice.

PERINO: Well, it's interesting, Brian, there actually have some good -- Congresswoman Roby has put into the legislation safeguards so that you would have -- say that you take the option of time off.

KILMEADE: Right.

PERINO: If you don't use that in 30 days, the company can -- you can choose to say, you know, I'll take the money instead. So, that doesn't sound --

KILMEADE: That's a great option. From my point, if I wanted to take time off, I have no one to hang out because all you people are going to choose to work.

But number two, I think it's important. In other words, you'll take your time off to do O'Reilly, right?

GUILFOYLE: Yes.

KILMEADE: So rather than giving up the money that O'Reilly pays you or "Cashin' In" adds to your account --

GUILFOYLE: I do the show for free.

KILMEADE: You do it for free, I had no idea.

But here's the thing, no one ever sits on their death bed and said, I wish I worked more. Maybe we should all take more days off --

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: Let me ask you a question. You've got five weeks on your contract? I don't have anything like that.

BOLLING: So are you, Beckel. So do you.

BECKEL: I do not.

BOLLING: You take more time than all of us.

(CROSSTALK)

GUILFOYLE: You can only carry over 10 days.

BOLLING: We can carry over --

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: This wasn't designed for people like us. This was designed for people that work hourly.

GUILFOYLE: I agree, like hair and make up team.

BOLLING: White House said they're going to veto it. You know why?

PERINO: Why?

BOLLING: Because they don't want this, because as Obamacare gets implemented, people are going to start laying people off. They're going to say, you're only going to do 20 or 30 hours a week, we're not going to make you a full time employee. This is going to be a push towards doing that instead of giving people five and a half.

PERINO: I think this is White House war on women, because some of the women are asking for this are mothers of special needs children.

GUILFOYLE: OK.

PERINO: What they're asking for is, I've got to take some my son or my daughter to an extra therapy session or something like that, let me have the time. Time is money.

Here's another question I have for you, Eric. You can't tax time. If you get paid your overtime, you are actually, then you pay a tax on that on the time -- what does that work? The IRS can't tax you. So, why wouldn't you take the time?

BOLLING: Well, the other part of the question is, well, you're actually reducing tax revenue if you give time instead of payment of time.

Also, economically as a business, I'd rather give people time off. It's cheaper, because you have three people and 30 percent of the time off instead of time and a half. It's cheaper to hire someone else to put --

(CROSSTALK)

GUILFOYLE: Like firemen, police officers --

BECKEL: Exactly.

GUILFOYLE: -- so many people budget, if they can get a certain number of overtime, then they can support their families.

BECKEL: They need overtime to make a living. That's the point.

GUILFOYLE: I know. Yes, they get.

BECKEL: And, by the way, Eric, you don't need overtime to make a living. You should take it anyway.

What would you do if you had five weeks?

GUILFOYLE: Can you donate your vacation time to Bob?

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: He could come up with more brilliant and genius ideas.

BECKEL: That's right. I mean, come on.

PERINO: I like it as a genius thing, and I really think that President Obama ought to call you for the next cabinet meeting, which might be held in the next, you know, eight months.

GUILFOYLE: How does Bob have a picture?

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: We had a picture --

PERINO: It was in Florida and it was for a weekend.

GUILFOYLE: I had a hat on, right?

PERINO: You practice good sun protection.

KILMEADE: Yes, she always.

PERINO: A hat, sunscreen, everything, sunglasses.

KILMEADE: Yes, absolutely.

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