Q. We have an exempt supervisor who's accumulated more than 400 hours of comp time over the past year. It's almost impossible for her to take 400 hours of comp time and do her job. What is our obligation to pay for this comp time? How can this issue best be resolved? —G.H., California
A. Under California law, comp time would likely be viewed as additional compensation for work performed, not a gift or gratuity. As such, you can't simply take away comp time. However, it appears that there is no California law that would prohibit you from controlling the scheduling of comp time and the amount that may be taken at a particular time. Accrued, unused comp time must be paid in a lump sum upon termination of employment.
To avoid similar problems in the future, consider issuing a policy that limits the amount of comp time that may be accrued and requires employees to take some amount of comp time within the year.