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What are the perils of inconsistent comp time?

by on
in Human Resources,Overtime Labor Laws

Q. Our employee manual doesn’t address compen­satory time off, but we have offered certain exempt managers an hour of comp time for every hour of overtime worked. Do we have to pay them for accrued comp time when we terminate them? In the past, we’ve paid comp time to some, but not to ­others. Can we negotiate our own terms with each employee?

A. It is not a good idea to treat similarly situated employees differently. It also is not a good idea for private employers to provide comp time.

Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime; they should be paid the same salary every week regardless of how many hours they work. Offering them comp time for every hour of overtime worked undermines the ­concept of being exempt and could jeopardize their exempt status.

That risk is exacerbated by providing comp time only to certain exempt employees, because those who didn’t received it may be motivated to file a challenge with the U.S. Department of Labor, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry or a court.

If an agency or court concludes that some of your exempt employees should be classified as nonexempt, you could be liable for hours those employees worked over 40 in any week—plus ­liquidated damages and attorneys’ fees, if applicable.

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