Overtime: Are You Paid Properly?

Original post, Facebook, January 5, 2017

It has come to the attention of AFGE Local 1812 officers that employees may be facing pressure to accept compensatory time instead of overtime pay. You need to know your rights.


If you are a non-exempt employee [you are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)], you can never be required to accept comp. time. If you work regularly scheduled overtime [think non-emergency overtime (overtime that the Agency knew would be needed, or should have been aware of the need, prior to the start of the workweek)] there is no choice – you MUST be paid overtime pay. If the overtime is irregular (think emergency overtime) it is YOUR CHOICE.

It is against federal regulation to coerce you to take compensatory (comp.) time. According to 5 CFR 551.531 (c):

“An employee may not directly or indirectly intimidate, threaten, coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten or coerce any other employee for the purpose of interfering with such employee’s rights to request or not to request compensatory time off in lieu of payment for overtime hours.”

Please report suspected violations of this regulation to AFGE Local 1812.


If you are an exempt employee (not covered by the FLSA), you MUST be paid overtime (Title 5 overtime) for any regularly scheduled overtime worked.

If you work irregular overtime and your grade is GS-10 or lower, it is YOUR CHOICE whether you receive comp. time or overtime pay (your Title 5 overtime rate is one and one half your basic hourly rate of pay).

If you are above the GS-10 grade level and you work irregular overtime, it is the AGENCY’S CHOICE on how you will be compensated. If compensated it will be at the Title 5 overtime rate (one and one half the minimum hourly GS-10 basic rate of pay or your hourly basic rate of pay – whichever is greater).



If you are non-exempt and you do not use your compensatory time by the end of the 26th pay period after it was earned, the comp. time converts to overtime pay (at time and one half for every hour of overtime worked).


If you are an exempt employee and you do not use your comp. time by the end of the 26th pay period after it was earned, the Agency has the discretion to either forfeit your comp. time or to convert it to pay. However, if you were not able to use your comp. time by the end of the 26th pay period after it was earned due to circumstances beyond your control (e.g., you requested it and your supervisor would not let you use it), you must receive the overtime pay at the overtime rate you would have been paid otherwise.

If you have any have any questions please contact the AFGE Local 1812 office.


Travel compensation time is different. Travel comp. time must be used within a year after it is earned. It has no cash value and expires after one year.

* To determine whether you have been designated as ‘non-exempt’ or ‘exempt’, check box # 10 on your Earnings and Leave Statement. If it is marked “N” you are non-exempt. If it is marked “E” you are exempt.

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