Is it legal for your manager to remove your overtime and tell you to comp the time?

Asked on March 21, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you are eligible for overtime--that is, you are a "nonexempt" employee (nonexempt from overtime)--then, except as below, you *must* be paid overtime when you work more than 40 hours in a week. Nonexempt employees who work overtime must be paid at overtime rates; it is illegal to provide comp time instead (though nothing stops a company from rewarding you for going above and beyond the call of duty by providing comp time in addition to whatever overtime the law requires).

Essentially all hourly employees, with a very few industry- or job-specific exceptions (like retail store floor sales staff who earn commissions as well as an hourly rate) are nonexempt and are eligible for overtime. Many salaried staff are nonexempt, too, unless they meet one of the specific tests to be exempt, such as being an executive (managerial) employee, a high-level administrator, or a professional. You can find these tests at the Department of Labor Website.

If you are an exempt employee, then, of course, the company does not need to offer you either overtime or comp time--it is voluntary if it does.

If you work for the government, it is sometimes possible, if there is a written agreement (e.g. a union contract) in place, to offer comp time instead of  overtime--that's the main exception to the requirement to pay hourly staff overtime.


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