Comp time - legal issue or company policy?

I am an exempt employee working four days per week by agreement with my non-profit employer. If I work a fifth day in any given week, can my employer legally offer me comp time off? If so, am I required to take the comp day within the same week or pay period or is that at my discretion?

1 answer  |  asked Jun 30, 2009 7:49 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

Patricia Pastor
Comp time

Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime under federal labor law. Therefore, if you are "exempt," your employer is not required to pay you overtime or comp time for hours you work in excess of 40 per week. However, your employer is certainly free to offer you additional wages or time off at his or her discretion.
The requirement you mention that comp time be taken in the same pay period applies to non-exempt employees. If a non-exempt employee works late on a Tuesday, for example, and is given Wednesday, the next day, off as "comp" time, that is lawful because the employee in that case has not actually worked over 40 hours during that pay week.
However, it is unlawful for an employer (other than a public employer) to offer a non-exempt employee "comp" time, i.e., accrued time off to be taken at a future date, in lieu of paid overtime.
Sometimes an employer will mis-classify employees as "exempt" when they are not truly exempt under the law. If you are truly exempt from federal overtime requirements, you are receiving a voluntary benefit from your employer when you receive overtime or "comp" time for additional hours worked.

posted by Patricia Pastor  |  Jul 1, 2009 09:47 AM [EST]

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