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Can your employer use comp time?

Comp time is extra time off given by your employer after you work overtime hours. This is often done because the employer does not want to pay you overtime wages.

For example, your employer may ask you to work five hours of overtime. It’s a Friday, so you think that you’re going to be earning time and a half. But then your employer just tells you to come in later on Monday to make up for it, saying that you’ll be paid for the full 40 hours for both weeks. You just get to work less next week because you worked more this week.

Should you be paid your time and a half, or were you paid correctly? Here’s what you should know:

How much time do you deserve?

Employers are allowed to do this under the California Labor Code. There are restrictions, such as the fact that no single employee is allowed to “accrue more than 240 hours of compensating time off.” 

It’s also important to note that your employer still needs to give you time and a half, even if they’re paying you in comp time and not actual wages. For instance, if you had to work five hours of overtime, you would actually deserve 7.5 hours off to make up for it. If your employer just gives you five hours off, then you’ve earned less than you would have if you were given overtime pay.

This situation can get tricky, and it’s important to know your rights and your legal options. This is especially true if your employer is trying to pay you less than you deserve or refusing to give you the correct amount of time off. Wage theft like this is all too common in the United States, but you do have options to protect your rights.


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