This week, the United States House of Representatives passed House Bill 1180, which would allow private employers to offer employees compensatory time off (“comp time”) in lieu of paying them overtime for hours worked in excess of forty in any one workweek. Under this bill, comp time could be accrued at 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked in a workweek. Most public sector employees have had this benefit since 1985. The bill is not a carte blanche option for employers, however. Individual employees have the choice to participate or continue receiving their overtime pay. The bill attempts to ensure that employees’ choice is not coerced. Their agreement to comp time arrangements cannot be made a condition of employment and must be expressly mutual and in writing.
Eligible employees must have worked at least 1,000 hours in continuous employment during the twelve-month period prior to engaging in the agreement. Finally, an employee may accrue only 160 hours of comp time each year, and employers must pay out any unused time at the end of each year and at voluntary or involuntary termination. The comp time is paid out to employees at their then-current rate of pay, not at the rate they were paid when the comp time was earned.
The measure now proceeds to the Senate for a vote. If you have any questions about this or any other legal topic, please feel free to contact our office.