House bill could require payment for overtime work

Saturday, May 11, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Beginning in 2006, the state would be required to pay overtime if employees chose cash over compensatory time off, according a bill approved Friday by the House.

The bill was prompted by concerns from state workers who haven't received millions of dollars in overtime pay or compensatory time because of a tight budget, said sponsoring by Rep. Bill Gratz, D-Jefferson City.

Although the bill doesn't solve that situation immediately, "the state needs to set a policy that it will pay its people who do the work," Gratz said.

The legislation, which now goes to the Senate, requires that employees be given a choice between being paid one-and-a-half times their regular wages or taking paid time off.

Under the bill, an employee wouldn't be able to get paid for the overtime until at least 40 hours of overtime had been worked.

Agencies can only pay overtime if it's appropriated.

Gratz has said the agencies will have to use money from their budgets to cover the overtime costs. If their budgets run short, a supplemental spending bill would have to be passed to address shortfalls.

After Jan. 1, 2006, departments would have to pay all unsettled overtime or allow employees to take time off.

Since March 31, 2002, a total of 33,945 employees have accumulated 1.9 million hours of overtime. If all of that was paid out, the estimated cost would be $27.9 million.

Corrections officers have an estimated $8.1 million worth of overtime built up; Department of Transportation workers have $7.7 million.

Gratz said the 2006 deadline gives state agencies some time to figure out where they would find the money.

Rep. Gary Marble, R-Neosho, said he didn't know why lawmakers had to pass a legislation on something departments should already be doing.

He also questioned why lawmakers couldn't find money in a $19 billion budget to pay its employees for working.

Overtime bill is HB1594 (Gratz).

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