April 3, 2013

The comp time myth

Posted in Compensatory Time Off, Fair Labor Standards Act, Overtime, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 8:28 am by Tom Jacobson

Some days won’t end ever and some days pass on by.
I’ll be working here forever, at least until I die.
Dammed if you do, damned if you don’t
I’m supposed to get a raise next week, you know damn well I won’t.

Workin’ for a Livin Huey Lewis & the News, 1982 

time clockSometimes it feels like we’ll be working for forever. When it does, we look for any chance to get away, especially when we have some paid time off coming. And sometimes we need and value the time off more than the paycheck itself.

So, why not reward employees who work a bit of overtime by giving them paid time off in lieu of overtime pay? It’s a great concept: if employees work overtime (that is, more than forty hours in a workweek under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act), they “bank” the extra hours and use them like extra vacation or other paid time off in the future. Although it seems like a great concept, it’s prohibited by the FLSA unless the employer is a public agency that is a state, a political subdivision of a state, or an interstate governmental agency.

What you need to know: There are ways for private sector employers to provide a comp time benefit for exempt employees (that is, employees who are not covered by the FLSA), but such programs must be carefully written so as to not jeopardize their exempt status. More importantly, comp time cannot be offered as an alternative to overtime pay to non-exempt private sector employees. Public agencies may, however, offer comp time to non-exempt employees.

For more information about this article, please contact me at alexandriamnlaw.com or  taj@alexandriamnlaw.com.

The comments posted in this blog are for general informational purposes only. They are not to be considered as legal advice, and they do not establish an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice regarding your specific situation, please consult your attorney.

Copyright 2013 Swenson Lervick Syverson Trosvig Jacobson Schultz, PA

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1 Comment »

  1. […] week in The Comp Time Myth I commented on how the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits the use of compensatory time (that […]


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