Compensatory Time Off

Barkan Meizlish , May 18, 2015

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to pay non-exempt employees overtime at a rate of one and one half times their regular rate of pay.  Section 207(o) however, provides an alternative way for government employers to compensate employees: the use of compensatory time.  Compensatory time, or “comp time,” is paid time off earned and accrued by an employee, instead of cash payment for working overtime hours. Only government employees can be paid compensatory time in lieu of overtime.

For Federal employees, comp time is one paid hour off for each irregular or occasional overtime hour worked.  The regulations interpreting the FLSA impose a cap on the number of comp time hours that an employee may accrue, and provide requirements for “pay outs” of unused comp time.  Here’s a few quick guidelines:

• Nonexempt employees may only accrue up to 240 comp time hours.

• Employees working in public safety or emergency response activities may not accrue more than 480 comp time hours.

• Employers must pay employees overtime compensation for work that exceeds the 240 or 480 cap on accrued comp time hours.

• Employees may use any accrued comp time within a reasonable period after making a request, but only if the use of such comp time does not “unduly disrupt the operations of the public agency.”


Source:  Wayne Coleman, Compensatory Time Off vs. Overtime Pay, Nov. 16, 2014

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