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Arizona Exempt Employee Comp Time

Posted by Tamara

Employers are allowed, under Arizona and federal laws, to require exempt employees to work more than 40 hours in a week whenever they deem it necessary. The employer doesn’t have to provide an incentive or increase in pay either.

Exempt employees in Arizona fall into one of five categories established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): Professionals, Executives, Administrators, Computer Pros and Outside Salespeople. As exempt employees, each must earn at least $455 per week and be paid the same salary every week, no matter how many hours they work. Even if the employer does not have work available, exempt employees who are willing and able to work a full week, must be paid for that full week.

There are exceptions to the rule, of course, under FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

Salaried exempt employees are by definition ineligible for overtime pay. That often raises the following question from Arizona exempt employees, “Since I am ineligible for overtime pay, am I entitled to comp time when I work more than 40 hours in one week?”

The answer is no. There is no federal or Arizona law, which guarantees comp time (compensatory paid time off) for exempt employees. Employers may legally grant comp time to exempt employees if they wish, and many companies do, but it is not a legal obligation.

Non-exempt employees are not entitled to comp time, either. Federal and Arizona laws prohibit employers from granting comp time instead of paying overtime to non-exempt employees. Federal law mandates that any non-exempt employee who works more than 40 hours in one week must be paid overtime at 1.5 times their usual hourly rate. Failure to do so is in violation of FLSA and illegal.

There are exceptions, of course. Some federal, state and local agencies are allowed to offer comp time in lieu of overtime pay, but it is illegal for private Arizona employers to do so.


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