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Comp time vs. overtime

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What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? CA

If any of you know the answer to this I would greatly appreciate your assistance.

Is it legal - for a company to state in their companies handbook the fact that overtime is not allowed unless previously approved by their supervisor. Any unapproved overtime will not be paid. All employees are to sign their understanding and receipt of company policies.

For approved overtime an option is provided... employee may take the overtime compensation monetarily OR the employee may choose to take personal time off in trade for the hours of worked performed past the regular time clock hours.

In the event of this "approved overtime" the employees time clock will show overtime hours... however the employee will also show equal hours off of the clock (indicating equal hours of time off to the amount of hours worked overtime)

Does this make any sense?


Is it legal - for a company to state in their companies handbook
Anything said in a company handbook is for all intents and purposes meaningless. Companies can violate their own handbook without recourse. As long as what they are doing is not specifically prohibited - it is allowable.

If your company is subject to FLSA than any hours over 40 per week are paid at time and a half.

(indicating equal hours of time off to the amount of hours worked overtime)
So they want you to take time off so your hours don't go over 40? Perfectly legal. Unless you are actually working during that time that is indicated as time-off.


Senior Member
If you are a non-exempt employee, and you don't work for the government, it is 100% ILLEGAL for them to give you comp time instead of paying overtime. The only time comp time would be allowed would be if it was within the same work week, so the hours worked in that week were 40 or less. If you work 10 hour Monday, they can make you work 6 hours Friday to make up for it. But if you work 42 hours this week, they can't have you work 38 hours next week and call it even, they have to pay you the 2 hours OT.

Actually, I just noticed you are in CA. In your state, OT is payable for any hours worked over 8 in a single day, so even comp time within the same week would be illegal.

If you work unapproved OT, you must be paid for it. However, you can be disciplined or fired for working unapproved overtime, so it's not a good idea. The company handbook can't supercede the law though, regardless of whether you sign off on it.
This is what federal law says about "company policy".

785.13 Duty of management.

In all such cases it is the duty of the management to exercise its control and see that the work is not performed if it does not want it to be performed. It cannot sit back and accept the benefits without compensating for them. The mere promulgation of a rule against such work is not enough. Management has the power to enforce the rule and must make every effort to do so.
During my tenure in law enforcement in Big Bear, I had worked an accumulated 42 hours OT in one 2-week pay period. I told my then sergeant not to worry about it, that I was fine with the computer education I was receiving during this time.

He told me that because of the "Garcia Ruling", (something I've never read nor heard of before), I had to be compensated in comp time. That comp time had to be given by the department at time and a half, meaning that I would be given 63 hours of comp time.

While this was a surprise to me to have a mini-vacation, I never knew that California has such a ruling regarding overtime.

They cannot give you hour-for-hour worked/time off. Each hour of overtime has to be comp'd at 1 and 1/2 hours, according to that Garcia ruling.


I'm a Northern Girl
OldAndTire, if you were in law enforcement, you were almost certainly in the public sector. Comp time (as you have described it) is legal in the public sector.

COMP TIME IS 100% ILLEGAL IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. In the private sector, comp time does not get paid out hour-by-hour OR at time-and-a-half; it does not happen at all. Not legally. Overtime CANNOT be waived, EVEN IF THE EMPLOYEE WOULD PREFER THE TIME TO THE MONEY.

If our poster is in the private sector, the policy he describes is a violation of both state and Federal law.
Thank you

One more question. This is an interesting question -

The HR manager (or manager) is the person responsible for reviewing and keeping maintenance over employees working over-time, yes? What if it is the HR manager that is working the overtime - it is (from what I hear here) the managers responsibility to either approve or not approve the overtime.


Senior Member
Managers are usually exempt employees, so they don't have to be compensated with time OR money for any number of "extra" hours worked. The above information applies to non exempt employees only.

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