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2 Questions about Employee vacation time and compensatory time

Hi, I have two questions about vacation time and compensatory time.

To begin, I am a salaried employee at a non-profit organization, about to complete my 3rd full year of employment at the end of this year. I work very long hours and receive compensatory time instead of overtime on my check. In the almost 3 years of work I have had a number of vacation hours carry over because I haven't had time to leave due to my work obligations.

1) My employer has told me that my compensatory time does not carry over. I receive compensatory hours instead of overtime on my check. At the end of the last fiscal year I was told that my 250 compensatory hours would be lost if not used, which they were. Now I have 400 compensatory hours of comp time that I am told will be lost at the end of the month. Is it legal for them to simply erase my comp hours at the end of the fiscal year and not compensate me for the time beyond 8 hour days that I worked?

2) Because I work so much, I also haven’t had the time to take vacations either. With exception of the first fiscal year, where I was hired midway through, I have accrued the maximum amount of time each year and used only a few hours. This has left me with a number of unused hours. I was told by my supervisor that I may carry over 3 weeks into the next fiscal year, however there is still roughly 45 hours that will not carry over. Does my employer have to pay me for those hours that they are not allowing me to carry over?


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My understanding is that...I am a non exempt employee. Even though I have a manager title, I do not supervise more than two people, and even though I have participated in interviews, I don't actually make hiring decisions.

Submitted Mon, 07/31/2017 - 10:32

It's important to understand that there are several different ways that you can qualify as an "exempt" employee. There is no actual requirement that you hire people or supervise a set number of people. You should be able to request from your employer whether you are classified as "Exempt" or not, but you almost certainly qualify under the "Administrative" exemption for the duties test (you can see more here: Office work that requires "independent judgement" is enough to exempt you, even if you don't have any managerial duties.

If you are properly classified as exempt, your employer is not legally required to pay you ANY overtime, or to provide ANY comp time. If that's the case, it most likely counts as another PTO/vacation benefit. Employers are allowed to cap the amount of PTO that you accumulate, but they are not allowed to simply get rid of the rest of it. For instance, they COULD have a policy that only allows you to accrue 3 weeks before you stop accumulating vacation time, but if they allow you to earn more than that, once you have earned vacation or paid time off, it is considered the same as "wages" and must be paid by your employer.

Atty. David Owens
Grolman LLP

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