Posted by Tamara
“Comp time” or compensatory time can be confusing. Many West Virginia workers wonder if “comp time” is legal, and if so, in what circumstances.
Comp time, which is paid time off granted to a West Virginia employee for a future payroll week instead overtime pay, is legal for most government institutions. A city clerk, for example, could work 50 hours in one week, and be paid for 40 hours and receive comp time for the additional 10 hours. This comp time would be calculated exactly like overtime pay. The employee would be entitled to 1.5 hours of comp time for each hour of overtime worked. In this example, the employee would be granted 15 hours of comp time for the 10 hours of overtime.
Private businesses, however, are not allowed to grant time. The relevant law is the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under this law, employees of private companies who work more than 40 hours in one week must receive overtime pay. This overtime pay is calculated at the rate of 1.5 times the usual hourly rate.
So, in the example above, a West Virginia employee who worked 50 hours in one payroll week at a private company would receive 40 hours of pay at the regular rate and 10 hours at 1.5 times his or her regular rate. If the worker earned $10/hour, his or her pay would total $550 for that week (40 x $10 + 10 x $15).
There are scenarios where a private employer will grant time off in the same week, but it is not comp time. Often, as a way to control overtime expenses, an employee who has put in extra hours will be required to leave early to compensate.
For example, Carl normally works Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Tuesday of one week, he works until 10 p.m. or 4 extra hours. His employer tells him to leave 4 hours early on Thursday to compensate. The result is Carl works and gets paid for 40 hours, and the employer avoids the expense of paying overtime.
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