What is Comp Time?

Compensatory time, or “comp time,” is a workplace practice that allows employers to replace the overtime wages an employee earns with extra time off. For example, an employee who works five hours of overtime in one week may be compensated with five fewer hours of required work during another week. In most cases, giving employees comp time rather than overtime wages is illegal—this is true even if both the employee and employer prefer comp time. This article will delve into the different reasons why comp time is unlawful.

Overtime Laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) put overtime laws into place to discourage employers from overworking their employees in order to hire less labor. Problematically, comp time gives employers an excuse to mandate overtime hours at their own convenience. An example of this practice is giving employees comp time during slow periods, while not being required to pay overtime wages, but allowing overtime when business picks up.

Generally, comp time is a violation of the law because it is hard to regulate and undermines overtime pay. All non-exempt employees are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for working over forty hours in one week. Comp time allows employers to escape the responsibility of paying their overtime employees this rate, while encouraging mandatory overtime. Similarly, because comp time is illegal in most cases, an employee may not be able to bring a claim against their employer for unfulfilled comp time.

Are there any cases where comp time is legal?

Some state or government agencies can give their employees comp time instead of overtime wages. However, this practice is only lawful under two conditions: if union representatives arrange an agreement and if the employee and employer arrange the agreement before the extra work begins. Enlisting skilled counsel can help you determine whether your employer’s comp time policy is violating overtime laws.

Contact a Wage Claim Attorney

There are a number of unlawful practices employers utilize to avoid paying out overtime wages. Some of these FLSA violations are deceptive and go unnoticed by employees. Fortunately, the wage claim attorneys at Williams Kherkher are well versed in detecting fair labor violations and are dedicated to fighting for employees who were taken advantage of by their employers. Don’t hesitate to contact us by calling (888) 262-9002 for immediate support and guidance in your case.