Compensatory Time v. Overtime in New York

New York wage hour attorneys at Leeds Brown see a growing number of cases involving the relationship between overtime pay and compensatory time. Unfortunately, many employers in New York City and nationwide don’t always pay their employees properly. Some employers commit wage theft, steal tips or otherwise try to skirt many of the employment laws designed to ensure that workers are treated fairly. We commonly see cases of employers not paying overtime to deserving employees.

You can take an important step toward protecting your rights by speaking with our experienced New York wage and hour attorneys. It is not always easy to navigate the various federal and state statutes that govern the way employees must compensate workers. They can often be complex and confusing. By consulting with overtime attorneys, you can make sure your employer is following the law and you are receiving the overtime pay you deserve.

What is Overtime Pay in New York?

The federal and New York state overtime rules state that eligible employees must receive payment at the rate of time-and-a- half for all hours worked past 40 in a work week. For example, an overtime eligible employee who earns $20 per hour, must be paid $30 per hour for all hours worked past 40 in a given work week.

There are many exemptions to the overtime requirement, but the majority of workers are entitled to earn a premium when they work over 40 hours a week. The overtime exemptions usually apply to executives, professionals, administrators, and certain computer-related employees. In order to be exempt, these employees must meet very specific criteria.

For example, to be exempt under the executive classification an employee must be a salaried employee earning at least $445.00 per week, the employee’s primary duty must be managing a department or subdivision of the enterprise, the employee must regularly direct the work of at least two full time employees and must have authority to hire and fire other employees.

Employers often wrongfully classify workers in an attempt to avoid paying overtime. For instance, an employer may try to tell you that just because you earn a salary, you are exempt from receiving overtime. This is simply not true.

What is Compensatory Time?

Compensatory time also called “comp time.” This involves a policy where an employer gives workers time off at a later date instead of overtime pay for the extra hours they work. For instance, an employee who works 45 hours in a work week would be given 5 hours off the following week, or another time, instead of receiving 5 hours of overtime pay.

An employer who forces employees to take comp time instead of overtime pay may be breaking federal law if the employer is a private business. Privately owned businesses are typically not permitted to have comp time policies instead of paying overtime. Some state and local government employers may give comp time if they meet certain specific requirements.

Overtime Wages are Preferable to Comp Time

The reason comp time is frowned upon in New York and elsewhere is because it prevents workers from collecting an overtime premium. Overtime rules were created specifically to financially reward employees who work more than 40 hours a week by paying them a premium. Comp time allows workers to take time off but does not provide them with premium compensation for their labor.

We see many cases where employers never follow through with their promise of comp time. Employees often never get to use that time they have “earned.” There is recourse if this has happened to you. You may want to try to recover compensation by filing a claim against your employer.

Is Taking Comp Time Ever Allowed in New York?

There are situations when you might prefer to have time off instead of earning overtime pay and you and your employer may come to an agreement on how to make that happen without violating overtime and other employment-related legislation. For example, we often see successful comp time arrangements in government agencies who have worked out agreements with union representatives. Your private employer may be willing to rearrange your schedule to legally accommodate some form of comp time arrangement. However, the rules regarding these arrangements are quite complicated and sometimes confusing. It is difficult to create one that does not violate the overtime law.

Unfortunately, most workers in New York do not have much control over their hours, pay or job duties. It is important for you to know that you cannot be forced to take comp time in lieu of overtime if you are otherwise eligible for overtime pay. If your employee is forcing you to do so, you may want to think about filing a claim.

Contact New York Overtime and Compensatory Time Attorneys to File a Claim

If you think your employer owes you overtime wages or has forced you to take comp time instead of overtime pay, you may want to speak with the experienced New York City comp time attorneys at Leeds Brown. We handle a full range of employment law cases with a hands-on, team based approach. We understand the complex laws and regulations that govern overtime pay, comp time, minimum wage and other employment-related issues facing New York workers like you.

Our lawyers will review your situation and passionately advocate on your behalf to ensure that you receive the proper compensation you deserve. Contact New York overtime lawyers at 1-800-585-4658 today.