Posted by Tamara
Compensatory time off, otherwise known as “comp time,” is a subject of confusion among many Louisiana workers. People are often confused about just what constitutes “comp time” and who can receive it.
It should be noted that “comp time” is only legal under certain circumstances.
Private firms, for example, cannot give Louisiana workers comp time in lieu of overtime payment. The Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA prohibits it. There are some state and federal positions, however, in which comp time is allowable. They are generally federal or state employees, particularly those in positions requiring very flexible work schedules, such as firefighters and law enforcement personnel.
In addition, it is not considered comp time if it is granted in the same week that the employee is accumulating overtime.
The definition of comp time is “time off in a future payroll week given in place of overtime pay.”
Granting time off in the same payroll week is not technically comp time. Employers may limit overtime costs and payroll expenses by granting a worker time off. Assume that a hypothetical employee, “Leroy,” typically works Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. This Wednesday, however, Leroy works until 7 at night. To avoid overtime, Leroy’s employer directs him to leave four hours early the following day. Note that Leroy is receiving exactly as many hours off the next day as he worked extra the previous day. This is not comp time.
“Tonya,” on the other hand, is a city police officer. She works 45 hours this week. She would therefore be entitled to 5 hours of that at “overtime” rate, or 1.5 times her normal hourly rate. The police department therefore grants her 7.5 hours off in a following week, one convenient for both her and her employer. Next week, then, she works 32.5 hours and is paid for 40 hours. If she had been a private security officer, however, her employer could not have given her this kind of comp time.
There are a few states where comp time is legal when an employer is not covered by the federal overtime law.
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