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Q & A

From North Dakota Question: Can an employee be compelled to use earned compensatory time before other forms of leave are utilized or within a specific date range (i.e. within pay cycle; within 14 days of earning)? Answer: In a non-union environment, the FLSA gives the employer the authority to force the employee to use comp time, even on days when the employee might not want the time off. From…

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The FLSA, Comp Time, And Bargaining

Section 207(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act sets a series of rules as to when compensatory time off is a legal substitute for cash compensation for overtime. Among the requirements of Section 7(o) is that if the employees have a collective bargaining representative, there must be an agreement between the union and the employer to use compensatory time off. Since Section 7(o) was adopted in 1985, there has…

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Fire Chief Loses Claim For $200k Comp Time Payout

Joseph Marini was the Fire Chief for the City of Camden, New Jersey. Marini worked under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) during his years in the department until 2000. At the end of 1999, before assuming duties as Acting Chief of the Department, Marini met with Preston Taylor, who was then the City’s business administrator. Marini testified Taylor told him that “with the exception of salary and wage, he…

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State Wage Law Requires Cashout Of Comp Time On Retirement

Like many states, Massachusetts has its own wage and hour law, a statute that is roughly comparable to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the Massachusetts Wage Act, employers are required to pay each “employee the wages earned by him.” Ronald Plourde was a captain with the Lawrence, Massachusetts Police Department. Plourde was injured on duty in 2006, and eventually retired in 2010 due to his disability. When…

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Q & A

From California Question: Does the FMLA restrict an employer from contacting an employee who is off on sick leave (stress) to set up a future interview date/time for an IA investigation where the employee is the subject of that investigation? Rumor is the stress medical condition is partly caused by the employee being the subject of the IA investigation. Answer: To the best of my knowledge, this issue isn’t…

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The Fair Labor Standards Act And Compensatory Time Off Use

It would seem like a simple question. If a public employee wants to use compensatory time off on a particular day, does the employer have to grant the day off? As straightforward as that question might seem, courts have tangled with the issue, and the Department of Labor (DOL) has recently withdrawn a proposed regulation that would have changed its long-held view on the issue. Here’s the lay of…

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Arbitrator, Not Court, Should Decide What ‘Mutual Agreement’ Means

The collective bargaining agreement covering detention officers working for the Woodbury County, Iowa Sheriff’s Department contains a clause allowing the use of compensatory time off in lieu of cash compensation for overtime. Under the contract, the County was authorized to grant compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay “upon mutual agreement between an employee and the Sheriff.” For budgetary and scheduling reasons, the Woodbury County Sheriff elected to…

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Employees Can Be Forced To Use Comp Time In Lieu Of Sick Leave

A group of corrections officers filed a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuit against the City of Atlanta, Georgia. One of the claims made by the officers was that the City forced them to use their compensatory time off instead of sick leave to cover their absences due to illness or injury. As the officers described it, the City’s policies stemmed from the fact that sick leave was forfeited…

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Chicago Loses Major Comp Time Case

A federal court of appeals has ruled against the Chicago Police Department in a long-simmering case concerning the ability of public employees to use compensatory time off. At the heart of the Chicago dispute is whether an employee has a right to request a particular day on which to use compensatory time off, or whether the employer may disregard the employee’s request and grant another day “reasonably proximate” to…

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