Understanding Georgia Compensation Time
Georgia employment law, which is largely set by federal regulation, allows compensation time by public employers. Some employers will give their employees compensation time, also known as compensatory time, instead of paying them extra for working overtime. In this context “comp time” means agreeing to give an employee 1 and ½ hours of time off in some later week in exchange for that employee working 1 hour this week. This practice is widespread among Georgia state government agencies and nonprofits and among those types of employers, is perfectly legal. However, some organizations which use compensatory time may be doing so illegally.
Private employers, though, may not use compensatory time. They can manage overtime by telling someone who worked late to leave earlier in the same workweek. They can not stretch that time into another workweek if it means the employee is not paid overtime. Overtime is paid based on a 40 hour workweek. It can not be average for private employees. For instance, if an employee works 42 hours in week one and 38 hours in week two, the employer is due 2 hours of overtime in week one. It doesn’t average out.
Do you suspect that your employer may be violating Georgia employment law with regard to compensatory time? It’s best to hire a law firm that specializes in employment law. Read on to learn more about compensatory time in Georgia.
The Basics Of Compensatory Time
Compensatory time is extra paid time off in another work week. Compensatory time is provided by an employer instead of overtime pay for the week in which he/she worked overtime. This practice is commonly found in state and local government agencies. It’s popular because it’s cheaper than paying an employee a higher rate for their extra work. Compensatory time be accrued at the time and one-half of the employee’s regular hourly rate.
Thus, public employers must award compensatory time at a rate of 1.5 hours for every hour of overtime worked. The employee must be allowed to take the time off at some convenient time. Othewise, eventually, the employee may be paid for that time. An advantage to the employee is that because compensatory time may be paid off years in the future when the employer leaves or retires, the hourly rate paid to the employer may be greater—even significantly greater—than when it was accrued.
Organizations Permitted To Use Compensatory Time
Only federal agencies and state and local government agencies are allowed to use compensatory time.
Georgia Compensation Time Restrictions
Georgia state and local governments are legally allowed to award employees compensatory time instead of overtime pay. However, there are still many regulations that they have to follow.
“Exempt” in an employment context means that this specific employee is not entitled to overtime pay. This is no matter how many hours they work. They will most likely be compensated for their extra work through a higher salary.
Losing Compensatory Time
Under the law of Compensatory time, a non-exempt employee may accrue up to 240 hours of compensatory time. After that is met, the employee must be paid overtime pay. Higher hours exist for police and fire personnel. They may accrue up to 480 hours of compensatory time before they must be paid overtime pay. Further, comp time in lieu of overtime wages cannot be waived. Additionally, they must be paid out to the employee upon their termination or retirement at the employee’s then-current wage.
Compensation Time Violations
If you suspect that your employer may have violated compensatory time regulations, you may have legal recourse. You can file a complaint with the state of Georgia and the federal government. While you can do so on your own, the process can be complex.
This is why it’s best to seek legal advice from an established employment law firm. DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin is one of the most successful and respected employment law firms in Georgia, so they’d be a great choice. We can provide you with the legal guidance you need to get properly compensated if your employer did break comp time laws. Contact DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin today with your compensatory time case. Visit our website for more information!