California Comp Time

“If you work late tonight, you can come in late tomorrow.”
“Work now, and I‘ll pay you later.”


California comp time, (also known as compensatory time or compensatory time off) for non exempt employees, for the most part, is illegal.

There are some limited circumstances where an employee may receive compensated time off by substituting overtime with comp time. However, an employer must follow all of these steps to comply with California comp time requirements and preserve the employee’s legal rights.

The required steps are as follows:
The employee must request the compensatory time off instead of payment of overtime in writing.
b. It must be in writing and clearly stated.
c. The employee must be regularly scheduled to work 40 hours per week.
d. Comp time must be provided at the same rate as the overtime pay. For example, if you work an extra hour, your comp time must be an hour and one half. If you work over 12 hours, your comp time must be at double time.
e. Maximum 240 hours “stored comp time.” Over 240 hours must be paid overtime.
f. No “use it or lose it policy”. Comp time cannot be forfeited or expire.

Who Is Not Entitled to California Comp Time? Generally, those employees who are exempt from overtime pay and those employees in certain industries such as manufacturing or public housekeeping, who may also be covered under a wage order specific to that industry, are not entitled to California comp time.

California Compensatory Time and Separation of Employment: California employees are entitled to be paid all “stored comp time” upon separation of employment. Any unused comp time must be paid out in the final wages at the appropriate overtime rate, if applicable.

California Labor Attorneys Offer Comp Time Wage Claim Reviews. It is not uncommon for California employers to fail to comply with California comp time laws, whether it is because of ignorance of the actual laws or done intentionally to help reduce their operating costs. Failure to comply will subject these employers to legal exposure. If you are an employee who has been the victim of illegal comp time practices, or you feel your employer has not met the California comp time requirements, contact one of our California labor law attorneys so your case may be reviewed. Our experienced labor law attorneys offer a free comp time claim evaluation.

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* In California you are entitled to overtime when you work more than 8 hours a day, the FLSA under Federal law mandates OT pay over 40 hrs worked in a week.


Are alternative work weeks legal? CLICK HERE.


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