Compensatory Time Off | Meaning and Definition

What is compensatory leave or compensatory off?

Compensatory time Off is time off an employee earns by working hours more than their regular work schedule. For every hour worked over the employee’s regular schedule, they earn one hour of comp off. Compensatory leave must be used within twelve months from the date it was earned. 

Most employers draft compensatory leave rules to compensate employees for working overtime. However, some employers do not offer compensatory leave and instead require employees to take comp off as unpaid leave. 

Comp off leave requests can also be used instead of payment for overtime work. For example, if an employee works four hours of overtime, they may elect to take four hours of compensatory leave instead of receiving payment. 

Is Compensatory Off Legal?

There are no national laws governing compensatory time off, so the answer to this question will vary depending on where you live. However, compensatory time off is legal in the United States as long as it complies with state law. 

Some states have specific laws governing compensatory time off, while others do not. If your state does not have specific laws governing compensatory time off, your employer can only offer it if they have a policy permitting it. It’s essential to check with your employer to make sure that you know their policies regarding compensatory time off. 

However, private sector, non-exempt workers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are not entitled to compensatory time off and must be paid for overtime hours instead.