Time off from work refers to a type of leave taken from one’s job. Time off can be paid or unpaid depending on several factors, including the type of leave taken, federal and state laws and regulations, company policies as well as the length of time off taken. 

Types of time off leave vary and can include:

  • Vacation Leave;
  • Sick Leave;
  • Parental Leave;
  • Military Leave;
  • Holiday Leave; and
  • Bereavement Leave.

Overtime pay is monetary compensation given to employees that exceed working the number of hours in a “normal” workweek, which is typically 40 hours. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employees covered under the Act be paid one and one-half times their regular pay for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The United States Department of Labor enforces the FLSA. 

Are Employers Required to Offer Time Off?

While many employers include various forms of time off as a benefit to their employees, in general, employers are not required by law to offer most forms of time off to their employees. There are, however, federally mandated exceptions that require employers to provide time off under certain circumstances, including: time off necessitated by conditions covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and employees that must take time off from work to fulfill military duties. 

Many state laws also guarantee time off for jury duty and voting in local, state or federal elections. In addition to requiring time off for these acts of civic duty, some states also prescribe that the leave is paid.

Are Employers Required to Offer Overtime Pay?

As noted above, the FLSA is a federal law that requires employers to pay overtime compensation to employees covered by the Act. Unless an employee is exempt from overtime, employers must abide by the law and pay overtime.

Some workers that are exempt from the overtime pay rule, include:

  • Sales employees whose salaries are derived from more than 50 percent commission sales and for each hour the employee works, they average an hourly rate that is one and a half times more than the minimum wage pay rate;
  • Certain computer professionals that earn more than a $27.63 hourly pay rate;
  • Some transportation workers that deal in interstate or foreign commerce;
  • Employees of small farms;
  • Seasonal and recreational workers;
  • Produce transportation employees;
  • Truck, trailer and boat salespeople; and
  • Some delivery drivers as well as delivery driver assistants.

In addition to the aforementioned list, the FLSA includes other employees that are exempt from the overtime pay rule.

How is Overtime Pay Calculated?

For non-exempt employees, the FLSA calculates overtime as time and a half for the hours worked beyond the regular 40 hour workweek.

As an example, assume a worker makes $20 per hour and during the workweek they put in a total of 50 hours at their place of employment.

  • Regular pay would be calculated as $20 x 40 hours, which equals $800.
  • Overtime hourly rate would be calculated as $20 x 1.5, which equals $30.
  • Overtime pay for this period would be calculated as $30 x 10 hours, which equals $300.
  • Total pay in this example would be the regular pay of $800 plus the overtime pay of $300, which equals $1,100.

In order for an individual to be eligible for the overtime pay, they must be present at work for the complete 40 hours. For example, if they took four hours of paid leave during that workweek, the employer would not be required to pay them at the overtime rate. The employee would instead earn at their regular compensation rate for all hours worked that week.

What is Comp Time?

Compensatory time off, also known as comp time, is a form of time off that employers sometimes offer employees instead of overtime pay. Basically, employers compensate their workers overtime with leave.

Can Employers Offer Comp Time Instead of Overtime Pay?

Employers whose employees are exempt from the FLSA may offer their workers the option to take comp time instead of receiving monetary compensation for their overtime hours. However, nonexempt employees must be paid for the overtime hours they worked. It is against the law to evade overtime payments for nonexempt employees, even if the worker agrees to take time off in lieu of payment.

Should I Call an Attorney with my Employment Questions about Time Off Instead of Overtime Pay?

If you are an employer or an employee with questions regarding your rights and the laws pertaining to time off, overtime pay, comp time, or any other employment-related matter, it is imperative to speak to an employment law attorney in your area as soon as possible. 

An employment law attorney will assist you with understanding the options available to you as well as explaining any applicable federal and state laws. If you have additional questions, contact a reliable and reputable employment law attorney today.