Compensatory time, also called "comp time," refers to paid time off that is earned for working extra hours. The Fair Labor Standards Act greatly restricts the use of compensatory time, particularly if comp time is being used by the employer to avoid paying overtime wages. Florida's state labor laws do not create any additional restrictions for comp time, so employers in Florida must abide by the restrictions and provisions set forth in the FLSA.
Under the FLSA and Florida state labor law, overtime is any work performed in a consecutive seven-day period that exceeds 40 hours. Unless exempt from overtime, employees working overtime must be paid 1 1/2 times their regular hourly wage for all overtime hours worked.
Employees who are exempt from overtime under the FLSA can be given comp time in lieu of overtime pay. To be exempt, an employee must make more than $455 per week in salary and be employed in a nonmanual labor capacity. Examples of employees who are exempt from overtime include professionals, managers, administrators, computer tech workers and outside sales personnel.
Hourly employees, those who are paid by the hour and do not receive a salary, or are otherwise entitled to and not exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, cannot be given comp time -- with some exceptions.
Compensatory time given during the same week the overtime is accumulated or occurs is permissible under the FLSA. For example, if an employee works 10 hours on one Monday but leaves two hours early on Friday, thereby only working six hours on Friday to prevent exceeding 40 total hours that week, comp time is permissible. Additionally, comp time given in the same pay period, but not the same week, is also permissible if its given at a rate of 1.5 hours. For example, if an employee works 42 hours in one week (two hours of overtime) he must be credited three hours during another week in the pay period.