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Can your employer use comp time instead of overtime pay?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Wage & Hour

If you work overtime hours, you are supposed to be paid time and a half. Employers who keep their workers longer need to honor this obligation and pay the higher wage. For instance, a worker with a $30-an-hour standard wage should be paid $45 an hour if they work overtime.

However, some employers do not want to pay the extra money. Instead, they tell employees that they can take additional time off. This is known as comp time. The employee gets paid for time off – when they’re not on the clock – because they worked extra hours during a different pay period. Is this allowed?

You still deserve time and a half

Yes, your employer can generally use compensatory time to pay you back for the overtime hours. If you put in an extra 10 hours one week, you may be able to take time off the next week.

But if you do, you deserve more than just those 10 extra hours that you worked. If your employer gives you the same amount of time off, you would still just be receiving your normal wage for the overtime hours. You still need to get time and a half, even if you’re taking comp time. For 10 overtime hours, then, you should get 15 paid hours off the next week.

This is just one example of how comp time can work, but the most important thing is to ensure that you’re being paid properly. If you’re not, your employer could be violating your rights under wage and hour laws. Make sure that you know exactly what legal steps you can take to rectify the situation.