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Can your employer use comp time for overtime pay?

If you work overtime hours, you’re supposed to be paid at one and a half times your normal rate. If you typically get paid $20 an hour, for instance, you deserve $30 an hour for every hour of overtime. This goes above and beyond your normal obligations at your job.

But your employer may not want to pay you this extra amount. Instead, they may offer to use comp time.

For example, perhaps your employer just needed you to stay late on Friday to finish up an order, so you put in two extra hours. They don’t anticipate the same amount of urgency on Monday, so they tell you that you can come in two hours late and just take paid time off. Is this legal?

Comp time still needs to be at a higher rate

It is legal for your employer to use comp time. They can give you paid time off in exchange for extra hours that you worked.

However, they still have to pay you one and a half hours for every additional hour. They can’t just average things out and say that you worked 40 hours both weeks. In the example, if you worked two extra hours on a Friday, you should get three hours off on the following Monday. If you only got two hours, you were not compensated properly for your time. 

Your legal options

Do you think that your employer has been violating your rights by not paying you properly for overtime? It could be intentional or accidental. Either way, it’s important to understand all the legal steps you can take.