Can an Employee Be Forced to Take Comp Time Instead of Overtime Pay?
The answer will depend on whether it is a private or government emloyer and whether you are an exempt status employee. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), nonexempt employees must be paid overtime at time and a half their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.
Normally, compensatory time off cannot be substituted for overtime pay according to the FLSA, except in public employment and for 14-day, 80-hour work periods allowed for employees of hospital or residential care facilities. According to the FLSA, overtime pay must be calculated on the basis of each workweek, the overtime earnings must be paid by cash or negotiable instrument, such as a check, and the overtime earnings must be paid promptly, which means on the regular payday for the period during which the overtime hours were worked.
Private sector employers are not allowed to grant nonexempt employees equal time off for the overtime hours they work. For example, if an employee works 10 hours of overtime, giving that person 10 hours off the following week would not be in accordance with the law. However, an employer is allowed to give time off in lieu of overtime at a rate of not less than 1 ½ hours for each hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required, within the same pay period. So in this example, the employee could be given 15 hours of compensatory time off the following week, within a two-week pay period.