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Overtime, Comp Time, and Credit Hours

This Handbook page provides a brief overview of overtime, comp time, and credit hours.

There are several factors which affect how you could be compensated for working extra hours. One is your salary: if your salary is at - or close to - the maximum GS salary ($183,500 in FY23). Another factor is whether you are an , external, exempt or non-exempt employee .

You should obtain supervisor approval prior to working extra hours. And, your supervisor should understand your specific situation prior to approving overtime.

The guidance below is only a high level overview. You and/or your supervisor can reach out to PeopleOps anytime with questions about your specific situation.

Overtime and Comp Time

Overtime and comp time can be approved by your supervisor no matter what type of work schedule you have.

Overtime is when you are paid for extra hours that you work, whereas comp time is when you receive hours of leave instead of pay. To determine the maximum number of comp time hours that you can accrue per pay period, please use the , external, TTS-only, Bi-weekly Comp Time Cap Calculator .

You should use your accrued comp time before using Annual Leave. However, if the end of the leave year is approaching, your supervisor can approve your Annual Leave requests first if you are in danger of losing Annual Leave because of “ Use or Lose .”

Comp time expires one year (26 pay periods) after it is earned. When you reach the expiration date, what happens depends on whether you are an , external, exempt or non-exempt employee :

  • If you are exempt: you will forfeit the leave.
  • If you are non-exempt: you will be paid out the hours (at the overtime pay rate that was in effect when you earned the hours).

If you leave GSA, your comp time will follow the parameters above: either forfeited or paid out, depending on your exemption status.

Credit Hours

Note: Credit hours are only available if you are on a flexible work schedule .

You can be approved for credit hours if you want to voluntarily work additional hours to your normal/approved schedule. If you are required to work additional hours, you will receive overtime or comp time.

  • You can have up to 24 credit hours accrued, at any given time.
  • The hours will rollover from one pay period to the next, and they never expire.
  • Credit hours cannot be converted to cash, unless you leave GSA (then they will be paid out).

Credit hours example

You are on a Gliding schedule , and you work 8 hours every day. You are not required to stay late, but you are in a productive headspace and want to work an extra hour to finish your project. You can talk to your supervisor and ask to work 1 more hour, therefore receiving 1 credit hour. You will need to request the 1 hour in HR Links, and your supervisor will need to approve it.

Religious comp time

You can request an adjustment to your work schedule for religious observances, instead of taking leave. Document your request to your supervisor, via email, in advance of the time you’ll need to miss, along with the schedule of the time you will work outside of normal hours to compensate.

Note: religious comp time does not follow the salary cap rules that are outlined in the beginning of this document. Anyone can request religious comp time, regardless of their salary and what type of work schedule they are on.

Travel comp time

When you travel in connection to TTS, the time you spend traveling may be regular time, overtime, or travel comp time, depending on when the travel occurs.

You’ll complete overtime and comp time requests after you travel because you may encounter delays. Keep a copy of your travel itinerary to help you remember your trip.

Refer to the , external, TTS-only, Compensation for Government Travel slidedeck to determine the breakdown of your hours. This slidedeck is only open to GSA employees. Please contact your Timekeeper or an HR Specialist at your agency with questions.

Note: travel comp time does not follow the salary cap rules that are outlined in the beginning of this document. Anyone can request travel comp time, regardless of their salary and what type of work schedule they are on.

Entering the overtime, comp time, and/or credit hours you will be working into HRLinks

Entering your hours is a two step process.

Step 1 - Submit a time request in HRLinks

You need to enter your overtime, comp time, or credit hours into HRLinks. To determine the maximum number of comp time hours that you can accrue per pay period, please use the , external, TTS-only, Bi-weekly Comp Time Cap Calculator . Your supervisor will be notified to approve the hours requested.

  • Click on the Employee Time Requests tile
  • Select Additional Time Requests
  • For Overtime , you will need to select a reason you worked overtime.
  • Select Additional Time Type
  • Enter Start Date and End Date
  • Enter Requested Hours
  • Enter Comments
  • Click Submit

You’ll receive emails after submitting the request, and after it is approved. There is a step-by-step guide to submitting time requests .

Step 2 - Update your timesheet

Currently, HR Links is not connecting Comp/Credit/Overtime hours to your timesheet. This means you will need to manually add the hours you earned to your timesheet on the day(s) when you earned them. You’ll do this after your supervisor has approved the hours in step 1.

There is a step-by-step guide on adding the hours to your timesheet . Reach out to , external, TTS-only, #people-ops if you need assistance.

Using the comp time and/or credit hours you’ve earned

You will submit a leave request , just like you do for other types of leave. When searching in HR Links for the leave type to request, the codes and leave names are:

  • 041 - Comp Time Used
  • 037 - Credit Hours Used
  • 047 - Religious Comp Time Used
  • 043 - Travel Comp Time Used

OPM Resources

  • , external, Adjustment of Work Schedules for Religious Observances
  • , external, Overtime Fact Sheet
  • , external, Comp Time Fact Sheet
  • , external, Credit Hours Fact Sheet

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Special compensatory time off for travel.

This program allows employees to accrue compensatory time off for time spent by an employee in a travel status away from the employee’s official duty station when such time is not otherwise compensable. The travel must be officially authorized for work purposes and approved by an authorized official. 

An employee as defined in Title 5 U.S.C. 5541(2), who is employed in an “Executive Agency,” as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105, ) is entitled to earn and use compensatory time off for travel regardless of whether the employee is exempt or non-exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Coverage includes employees in Senior Level (SL) and Scientific of Professional (ST) positions, Federal Wage System (or Wage Grade, WG), and commissioned (tenured) Foreign Service Officers (in pay plan FO) and Commissioned Foreign Service Officers (in pay plan FO). 

Senior Executive Service members and intermittent employees (who do not have a scheduled tour of duty for leave purposes) are excluded from coverage.

Effective Dates of Coverage

Final regulations implementing compensatory time off for travel for most employees was effective May 17, 2007. Coverage for WG employees was effective April 27, 2008. Coverage for Foreign Service Officers (in pay plan FO) and Commissioned Foreign Service Officers (in pay plan FO) was effective June 8, 2006. 

Creditable Travel Time 

Time in a travel status includes the time the employee spends traveling between the official duty station and a temporary duty station (or the lodging in the temporary duty station) or between two temporary duty stations (or the lodging in the temporary duty station) and the “usual waiting time” that precedes or interrupts such travel. 

“Usual waiting time” is the time required to arrive at the airport (or other transportation hub) for security checks-ins, etc., prior to a designated departure time. 

Time spent at an intervening airport (or transportation hub) waiting for a connecting flight also is creditable time.

In the Department, “usual waiting time” is 2 hours for domestic travel and up to 4 hours for international travel. 

Non-Creditable Travel Time 

The following do not qualify as creditable time:

  • Unusually long or extended waiting periods that occur prior to an employee’s initial departure time or between actual periods of travel if the employee is free to rest, sleep, or otherwise use the time for his/her own purposes;
  • Long waiting periods that occur during an employee's regular scheduled working hours; these periods are compensable as part of the employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek;
  • Time spent traveling outside of an employee’s regular working hours to or from a transportation terminal that are within the limits of the employee’s official duty station;
  • Time spent traveling in connection with the performance of union representational activities;
  • Time spent traveling on a holiday or an “in-lieu-of” holiday; the employee is entitled to his or her rate of basic pay for the holiday hours; and
  • Time spent at a temporary duty station between arrival and departure times; and
  • Meal times. 

Once an employee arrives at the temporary duty station (i.e., TDY work site, training site, or hotel at the temporary duty station), the employee is no longer considered to be in a travel status. Any time spent at a temporary duty station between arrival and departure is not creditable for earning compensatory time off for travel. 

Offsetting Normal Commuting Time

When an employee travels directly between the home and a temporary duty station that is outside the limits of the employee's official duty station, the employee's normal “home-to-work/work-to-home” commuting time must be deducted from the creditable travel time. 

Normal commuting time must also be deducted from the creditable travel time if the employee is required to travel outside of regular working hours between the home and a transportation hub outside the limits of the employee's official duty station.

Travel between Multiple Time Zones 

When an employee’s travel involves two or more time zones, the time zone from the point of first departure must be used to determine travel status for accruing compensatory time off. For example, if an employee travels from his official duty station in Washington, DC, to a temporary duty station in Boulder, CO, the Washington, DC, time zone must be used to determine hours in a travel status. However, on the return trip to Washington, DC, the time zone from Boulder, CO, must be used to determine hours in a travel status 

Timeframes for Use

An employee must use accrued compensatory time off by the end of the 26th pay period after the pay period during which it was earned and reported on the webTA. 

All compensatory time off for travel must be used in the chronological order in which it was earned; that is, time earned first is used first. 

Forfeiture of Unused Hours

Accumulated compensatory time that is unused by the end of the 26th pay period after the pay period in which it was earned is forfeited. Unused balances are also forfeited when an employee voluntarily transfers to another agency or separates from Federal service. Forfeited hours may not be paid or restored. 

When an employee fails to use accumulated compensatory time balances within the required timeframe due to an exigency of the public service beyond the employee’s control, the time limit for using the hours may be extended for up to an additional 26 pay periods. Additional extensions are not authorized and forfeited hours may not be restored. 

Exceptions to Forfeiture of Unused Hours

Unused compensatory time off for travel must be held in abeyance for an employee who separates, or is placed in a leave without pay (LWOP) status, and later returns:

  • To perform service in the uniformed services (see 38 U.S.C. § 4303 and 5 CFR § 353.102) with restoration rights; and 
  • Due to an on-the-job injury with entitlement to injury compensation under 5 U.S.C. Chapter 81. 

In these cases, the employee must use all of the compensatory time off for travel held in abeyance by the end of the 26th pay period following the pay period in which he/she returns to duty, or the compensatory time off will be forfeited. 

Biweekly Salary Limitation and Aggregate Limitation on Pay

Compensatory time off for travel is not considered in applying the bi-weekly pay cap under 5 U.S.C. 5547 or the aggregate limitation on pay under 5 U.S.C.507. 

Alternate Mode of Transportation

When an employee is allowed to use an alternate mode of transportation, or travels at a time/route other than what is initially approved by the authorizing official, creditable time for travel status must be estimated. The estimate is based on the amount of time the employee would have had if the mode of transportation or the time/route initially approved by the authorizing official was used. In determining the estimated amount of creditable time for travel that an employee would have had, the employee will be credited with the lesser of the:

  • Estimated time in a travel status the employee would have had if the employee had traveled at the initially approved time, or
  • Employee's actual time in a travel status at a time other than that initially approved.

Applying for Compensatory Time off for Travel

Employee must officially request the earning of compensatory time prior to the actual travel or within 10 calendar days of termination of the travel. The request may be submitted via the webTA Leave and Premium Pay Request functionality, Commerce Department Form CD-81, “Authorization for Paid Overtime and/or Holiday Work, and for Compensatory Overtime”, electronic mail, or memorandum. The request should estimate the number of hours the employee expects to earn. Upon the employee’s return from travel, the employee must provide a chronological record of travel information including:

  • Duration of the normal home-to-work commute;
  • Time and place of departure (i.e., the employee’s home or official duty station);
  • Actual time spent traveling to and from the transportation terminal if the terminal is outside of the employee’s official duty station;
  • Usual waiting time; and
  • Time of arrival at and departure from the temporary duty station. 

Earning Limitations 

There is no limit on the amount of compensatory time for travel that may be earned. 

Using Compensatory Time off for Travel 

Compensatory time off for travel is credited and used in 15 minute increments with the compensatory time off for travel earned first being charged first. Additional leave will be charged in corresponding units. Employees must request permission from their supervisor or leave approving official to schedule the use of accrued compensatory time off via the webTA Leave and Premium Pay Request functionality, a SF-71, Application for Leave, or Form OPM-71, Request for Leave or Approved Absence. 

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UNCLASSIFIED (U)

compensatory time off for travel

(CT:PER-1131;   05-26-2023) (Office of Origin:  GTM/OTA)

3 FAM 3171  Authorities

(CT:PER-751;   10-30-2014) (State Only) (Applies to Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)

Authorities are authorized by the following:

·          5 U.S.C. 5550b

·          5 CFR Part 550, subpart N; and

·          The Foreign Service Act of 1980, Section 412, as amended.

3 FAM 3172  Introduction

(CT:PER-869;   08-28-2017) (State Only) (Applies to Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)

The Federal Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-411, Section 203, October 30, 2004) established a new form of non-monetary compensatory time off for time spent by an employee in a travel status when such time is not otherwise compensable (i.e., when the travel is not during regular duty hours or otherwise considered hours of work).  This provision is codified in 5 U.S.C. 5550b.  Individual offices do not have the discretion to deny an employee compensatory time off for travel if it has been earned and applied in accordance with Department policy.  Compensatory time off for travel is non-monetary and if not used prior to its expiration, never converts to cash.

3 FAM 3173  Eligibility

(CT:PER-992;   05-20-2020) (State Only) (Applies to Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)

a. Compensatory time off for travel may be earned by:

(1)  An American direct-hire employee as defined in 5 U.S.C. 5541(2);

(2)  Part-time employees may be entitled to compensatory time off for travel if the time in travel status does not qualify as compensable hours of work under 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2)(B) and 5 CFR 550.112(g)(2), and meets the other requirements in 5 CFR 550, subpart N;

(3)  Tenured Foreign Service Officers class FS-01 and below under the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended; effective October 23, 2007;

(4)  Wage grade (prevailing rate) employees under the provisions codified in 5 U.S.C. 5550b and 5 CFR 550, subpart N; effective April 27, 2008; and

(5)  Eligibility of locally employed staff depends on local labor law and how the employee was hired.  If the locally employed staff member is appointed under the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, the employee may be eligible.  If the locally employed staff member is hired under a personal services agreement, local labor law prevails.  The office of Overseas Employment Compensation Management Division (GTM/OE/CM) may be contacted for further information.

b. Compensatory time off for travel may NOT be earned by:

(1)  Members of the Senior Executive Service;

(2)  Members of the Senior Foreign Service;

(3)  Executive Schedule employees; or

(4)  Employees on an intermittent schedule.

3 FAM 3174  Determining Eligible Time in Travel Status

a. To be creditable under this provision, travel must be officially authorized.  The travel must be for work purposes and must be approved by an authorized Department official or under established Department policies.  Examples of eligible travel would be for performing official work at another duty station, attending an official conference, or attending official training.

b. Compensatory time off for travel may only be earned for time in an official travel status away from an employee’s official duty station when such time is not otherwise compensable as regular duty pay or premium compensation.  For Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), exempt employees, compensable refers to periods of time creditable as hours of work for the purpose of determining a specific pay entitlement.  For FLSA non-exempt employees, please see 5 CFR 551.422.

c.  Eligible Time in Official Travel Status includes:

(1)  Time spent traveling between the official duty station and a temporary duty station;

(2)  Time spent traveling between two temporary duty stations;

(3)  The usual waiting time preceding or interrupting such travel.  The usual waiting time for domestic flights may not exceed two hours, and for overseas flights may not exceed three hours.  Extended waiting time is not creditable; or

(4)  Time in travel status ends when the employee arrives at the temporary duty worksite or lodging in the temporary duty station, wherever the employee arrives first.  Time in travel status resumes when an employee departs from the temporary duty worksite or lodging in the temporary duty station, from whichever the employee departs last.

d. Time that is NOT eligible:

(1)  Travel for the purpose of permanent change of station, temporary change of station, home leave, rest and recuperation travel, family visitation travel, regional rest breaks, medical evacuation, emergency visitation travel, and post evacuations are not considered time in official travel status for the purpose of earning comp time off for travel;

(2)  An extended waiting period is not considered time in official travel status and is not creditable.  An example of extended waiting periods include: flight delays or cancelations due to weather issues, mechanical problems, airline administrative problems, etc.;

(3)  Regular duty hours of work; and

(4)  Hours of travel time that are otherwise compensable hours of work under the overtime pay provisions in 5 CFR 550.112(g) or 5 CFR 551.422.

e. Reference 5 CFR 551.422 states for non-exempt employees, time spent traveling must be considered compensable hours of work if:

(1)  The official travel occurs during the employee's regular working hours;

(2)  The employee is required to drive or perform other work as part of the official travel;

(3)  An employee is required to travel as a passenger on a one-day assignment away from the official duty station location; or

(4)  The employee is required to travel as a passenger overnight away from the official duty station location and the official travel occurs on a non-workday during hours that correspond to the employee's regular working hours.

3 FAM 3175  Factors That Influence Compensatory Time Off for Travel

3 FAM 3175.1  Time Zones

When an employee’s travel involves two or more time zones, the time zone from the point of first departure must be used to determine how many hours (elapsed time) the employee actually spent in a travel status for the purpose of accruing compensatory time off for travel.  For example, if an employee departs from Tokyo, going to FSI for training, the employee calculates the trip based on the Tokyo time zone.  Likewise, the return trip is calculated on the Washington, DC time zone since it now is the point of first departure.

3 FAM 3175.2  Modes of Transportation

a. In the case of an employee who is offered one mode of transportation (i.e., flying) and who is permitted to use an alternate mode of transportation (i.e., train or POV), or who travels at a time or by a route other than that selected by the Department, the agency MUST determine the estimated amount of time in a travel status the employee would have had if the employee had used the mode of transportation offered by the Department or traveled at the time or by the route selected by the Department.  For example, if the flight time is two hours but the travel by train takes six hours, the employee is only eligible to request two hours as creditable for comp time off for travel.  The fact that one mode of transportation may save the Department money has no bearing on the amount of comp time off for travel that an employee earns.

b. Employees who take an approved/authorized rest break during their travel that causes the compensatory time off for travel eligibility to change from what would have been available for the most direct route are ONLY authorized to claim the amount of time that would have been earned had the rest break not been taken.

c.  The class of accommodation, such as business class, does not influence whether the time in travel status is compensable.  Allowing an employee to upgrade travel to business class does not eliminate an employee’s eligibility to earn compensatory time off for travel.

3 FAM 3175.3  Meals

It is no longer required that an employee deduct the bona fide meal periods during travel time or waiting time.

3 FAM 3175.4  Change of Administrative Work Week

An agency may NOT adjust the regularly scheduled administrative work week that normally applies to an employee (full-time or part-time) solely for the purpose of including planned travel time that would not otherwise be considered compensable hours of work.  For example, if an employee is required to travel on a Saturday, which is normally a day off, the supervisor cannot change the administrative work week to be Tuesday through Saturday, making Saturday a compensable day and thus making that day ineligible for compensatory time off for travel.

3 FAM 3175.5  Commuting Time

a. Travel outside of regular working hours to or from a transportation terminal (airport, train, etc.) within the limits of the employee’s official duty station is considered equivalent to commuting time and is not creditable travel time.

b. Travel outside of regular working hours between an employee’s home and a temporary duty station or transportation terminal outside the limits of the employees duty station is considered creditable travel time.  However, the Department must deduct the employee’s normal home-to-work/work-to-home commuting time from the creditable travel time.

c.  A mileage radius no greater than 50 miles applies to determine whether an employee's travel is within or outside the limits of the employee's official duty station.  See 5 CFR 550.112(j).

3 FAM 3176  Recording and Use of Compensatory Time off For Travel

(CT:PER-1131;   05-26-2023) (State Only) (Applies to Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)

a. Fifteen (15) Minute Increments: Compensatory time off for travel is credited and used in increments of 15 minutes.

b. Thirty (30) day Limit for Requesting Credit: The Department requires employees to submit credit requests, in writing, to their supervisor with specific times, justification, and itineraries, within 30 days of completion of eligible official travel.  This request should be accompanied by Form DS-5106, Compensatory Time Off for Travel worksheet.  Requests for compensatory time off for travel that are submitted more than 30 days after the last day of travel will be denied.

c.  Documenting Compensatory Time Off for Travel on Cuff Records and TATEL: The Department’s pay system will not accommodate the specialized compensatory time off for travel category; and, as a result, timekeepers are required to keep paper records of the compensatory time off for travel earned by each individual using a separate ledger ( 3 FAM Exhibit 3176) ;

(1)  Compensatory time off for travel is not recorded in the TATEL system, though comp time off for travel used will be recorded in TATEL;

(2)  Time used should be entered in TATEL as “XA” with a notation “compensatory time off for travel”;

(3)  Timekeepers should keep a copy of the Form DS-7100, Request for Leave or Approved Absence with the paper record of compensatory time off for travel earned and subtract the time used;

(4)  Regulations require that time is charged in a chronological manner, i.e., first-in, first-out; and

(5)  These are official records and must be maintained by each individual office.

d. Time Limit for Using Compensatory Time Off for Travel: Compensatory time off for travel must be used within 26 pay periods from the time the eligible compensatory time off for travel is earned.  Otherwise it is forfeited.  Exceptions may be granted:

(1)  If the employee with unused compensatory time off for travel separates;

(2)  The employee is placed in a leave without pay status to perform service in the uniformed service (as defined in 38 U.S.C. 4303 and 5 CFR 353.102) and later returns to service through the exercise of a re-employment right provided by law, Executive Order, or regulation;

(3)  An on-the-job injury with entitlement to compensation under 5 U.S.C. chapter 81 and later recovers sufficiently to return to work; or

(4)  An exigency of the service beyond the employee’s control and an authorized Department official, has sole discretion, to extend the time limit for using such compensatory time off for travel, not to exceed an additional 26 pay periods.

e. Scheduling and Using Accrued Compensatory Time Off for Travel: Employees must request permission from their supervisor via Form DS-7100 , Request for Leave or Approved Absence , to schedule the use of accrued compensatory time off for travel.  Earned compensatory time off for travel must be charged on a first-in, first-out (chronological) basis.

f.  Use of Compensatory Time Off for Travel While in Official Travel Status: In accordance with 5 CFR 550.1406, employees must request permission to schedule the use of accrued compensatory time off for travel in accordance with agency-established policies and procedures.  Department policy states that employees will not be authorized to use compensatory time off for travel in the same trip in which it is earned.

3 FAM 3177  Transfer Within the Department

Compensatory time off for travel may be transferred to another office within the Department, unless the employee moves to a federal position that is covered by the compensatory time off for travel regulations, pursuant to 5 CFR 550.1407(d).  The losing timekeeper must provide complete copies of the employee's compensatory time for travel to the gaining timekeeper.  This includes a copy of the authorized approval memo, the paper ledger recording time earned and used, and the current balance with the forfeiture dates.

3 FAM 3178  Forfeiture

Compensatory time off for travel is forfeited:

(1)  Except as provided in 3 FAM 3176 (d), if not used by the end of the 26th pay period during which it was earned.  NOTE: The 26 pay periods run from the time travel was completed, not from the time it was credited;

(2)  Upon voluntary transfer to another agency;

(3)  Upon movement to a non-covered position, or if there is a change in employee status, such as intermittent or promotion to SFS/SES; or

(4)  Except as provided in 3 FAM 3176 (d), upon separation from the federal government.

3 FAM 3179  Compensatory Time Off for Travel is NOT Premium Pay

a. Under no circumstances may an individual receive monetary compensation for any unused compensatory time off for travel the employee has earned.

b. Accrued compensatory time off for travel is not considered in applying the premium pay cap limitations established under 5 U.S.C. 5547 and 5 CFR 550.105 through 550.107, or the aggregate limitation on pay established under 5 U.S.C 5307 and 5 CFR 530, subpart B.

3 FAM Exhibit 3176   Compensatory Time Off For Travel Record of Hours Earned and Used

(CT:PER-751;   10-30-2014)

_____________________________

Traveler’s Name

Approver/Supervisor’s Name

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Compensatory Time Off for Travel

To:   All U.S. Geological Survey Employees From:   S. Kaye Cook /signed/ Chief, Office of Human Resources Subject:   Compensatory Time Off for Travel

Beginning January 28, 2005, employees are eligible to earn compensatory time off for time spent in a travel status away from their official duty station when such time is not otherwise compensable. This provision does not apply to employees in the Senior Executive Service and Wage Grade employees.

Until the Department of the Interior issues additional guidance, the following will apply: Whenever possible, supervisors should schedule officially approved travel within regularly scheduled work hours. If travel during regularly scheduled work hours is not possible, supervisors may authorize compensatory time off in accordance with the guidance issued by the Office of Human Resources Management (OPM).

For information about what qualifies as time in travel status and the restrictions of this new provision, see  OPM’s interim regulations . You may also review  OPM’s questions and answers , and  see examples of creditable travel time .

Compensatory time off for travel is credited in increments of 15 minutes. You should use pay code 046 for “Travel Compensatory Time – Earned” and pay code 047 for “Travel Compensatory Time – Used” in Quicktime. Any compensatory time off for travel must be used by the end of the 26th pay period after the pay period in which it was earned, or it will be forfeited. Payment is not authorized for compensatory time off for travel.

Both earned and used compensatory time off for travel will initially be combined with the regular compensatory time balances on the leave and earnings statements. The National Business Center is currently working with Employee Express to ensure that compensatory time off for travel balances will be displayed separately in the near future.

If you have any questions, please contact your  servicing Human Resources Office  for assistance.

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November 1979 - September 2023

A Simple Guide To Comp Time And How To Use It

What is Comp Time

Ralitsa Golemanova

What is comp time, exactly? Compensatory time refers to the practice of compensating employees with paid time off (PTO) rather than overtime pay for hours worked above 40 in a workweek.

Let's take Tim as an example. Tim works in a grocery store, and it was a particularly busy week as people were gearing up for a three-day weekend. Tim worked an extra 10 hours that week. Instead of getting monetary compensation for those overtime hours , Tim would like paid time off to complete some personal errands.

To calculate how much paid time off Tim is owed, you would multiply 10 hours by 1.5, which equals 15 hours. Essentially, Tim will receive nearly two full days off — which he will be paid for — to use as he pleases.

Comp time is calculated by multiplying 1.5 times overtime hours worked.

1.5 x Number of Overtime Hours Worked = Comp Time

But can you do that in all cases and for all types of employees? The answer is no. There are specific situations in which you can use comp time. They depend on the type of business that you’re running, the employee’s status, and the state in which you’re located. Let's take a look at when you can use comp time, and some important considerations you'll need to keep in mind.

Is Comp Time Legal?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes the federal rules that employers in the U.S. have to respect in relation to employees. It covers terms like hours worked, minimum wage, and overtime pay, among others. The FLSA also sets the boundaries for using compensatory time off instead of overtime.   

The use of comp time is also regulated on the state level , with rules diverging between states. 

The legal use of compensatory time depends on the following factors:

  • The status of an employee as either exempt or non-exempt according to the FLSA
  • The type of organization at which the person is employed - whether it’s a private business or a public body
  • The state in which the employment is conducted

Comp Time For Exempt vs Non-Exempt Employees 

The FLSA regulates the handling of wages and hours for non-exempt employees . They are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. Typically, they are paid by the hour, but may also be salaried employees. Being non-exempt rather depends on the exact duties of the person. Often, workers in construction, maintenance and services are considered non-exempt. 

According to the FLSA, compensatory time off is not legal for non-exempt employees working at private companies. They have to receive pay for any hours they have worked above the 40-hour work week. The overtime rate has to be equal to 1.5 times the regular rate of pay.  

The other type of employees are called exempt , also known as salaried workers. They typically include executives, managers, and other specific professionals. 

The FLSA does not require employers to pay overtime hours for exempt employees. However, employers may choose to voluntarily do so. They also have the freedom to offer comp time instead. If an exempt employee leaves the job before using their accrued compensatory time off, it is not legally required to pay the unused time. 

Private vs Public Sector Employees

While using comp time in the private sector is not permitted for non-exempt employees, the practice is legal and more common in the public sector . 

Federal, state, and local government agencies are allowed to offer comp time to their employees in lieu of overtime pay. Many positions in public organizations are considered non-exempt and thus fall under the FLSA’s rules about overtime. Nevertheless, such government employees may receive comp time. 

In offering compensatory time off, public bodies need to adhere to strict rules. They include:

  • The comp time has to be negotiated before the employee works overtime hours 
  • The rate for comp time has to be calculated as overtime, which means at least 1.5 times the actual worked hours
  • The employee has to use the accrued comp time within a fixed number of pay periods
  • If possible, there should be a labor union agreement covering comp time

In addition, there are restrictions to the number of comp time hours that different types of public employees can accrue. For most of them, the limit is 240 hours. For law enforcement, fire protection, emergency response and seasonal activities, it is 480 hours. 

States Allowing Comp Time In The Private Sector

As states have additional laws regarding wages and overtime pay, some of them permit the use of comp time in the private sector for businesses not covered by the FLSA.

Often there are contradictions between the rules set in the federal laws and the state laws, or between any of the overtime laws and labor union contracts. You are required to opt in for the stipulations that provide greater protection to your employees . 

Penalties For Illegal Use Of Comp Time

You can end up in a problematic situation if you fail to respect applicable state and federal laws regarding the use of comp time. Even if your employees push for this practice, you have to make sure that your company is bullet-proof in terms of potential lawsuits. 

The U.S. Department of Labor is in charge of overseeing issues with overtime pay and comp time. Among the penalties that it can enforce on you in case you’ve breached the law are:

  • Fines of up to $10,000 for comp time violations, as well as additional fines for repeated violations and imprisonment 
  • If a lawsuit against you is successful, you may have to pay twice the amount of the owed wages, plus the legal fees 
  • Fines for penalizing employees that file a comp time claim for unpaid wages

Is It Better To Offer Comp Time Or Overtime Pay?

A comp time policy can benefit your bottom line by helping you avoid overtime premiums. It can also give employees the time to attend to personal matters, without hurting their pocketbooks. And as you may know, flexibility bodes well for employee job satisfaction because it encourages the ever-essential work-life balance.

One downside to offering comp time is that it can lead to disputes with employees, particularly around whether they are truly exempt or non-exempt. Another challenge is managing expectations around comp time. Employees may come to expect comp time whenever they work overtime, and could put in extra hours unnecessarily in order to get those days off.

What it comes down to? Having a solid comp time policy is essential, both for your business and for your employees. It ensures fairness and transparency in offering this option for compensating overtime hours, as well as promotes a healthy company culture. Make sure employees and new hires receive this policy in writing.

If your employees are given a choice between comp time and overtime pay, which one will they choose? Employees deciding between the two, might consider:

  • Their monetary position: Do they need the money? Or would they benefit more from time to take care of certain tasks or attend to personal matters?
  • Employer preference: Do you, the employer, have a preference? Employees may consider how important it is to meet your needs and maintain a positive relationship with you.
  • Taxes: How will overtime pay impact your employee's taxes? They may want to meet with a tax professional before making a decision.

Encourage your staff to discuss any questions with you, so they can be confident they're making a fully informed decision, and to seek the help of tax and HR professionals if they have further questions.

How To Use Comp Time In Your Business

Let’s wrap it up: when is it legal to use comp time?

You can offer comp time instead of overtime pay to your employees if:

  • They are non-exempt employees
  • You are managing a public sector organization
  • You are in a state that allows comp time for private sector businesses not covered by the FLSA and you comply with all prerequisites for its use 

Even if your employees prefer and ask for comp time instead of overtime pay, you are not legally allowed to provide them with it in situations different than the ones listed above.

If the law permits you to use compensatory time off, it’s important to set rules for applying it in advance.

Get Help With Your Payroll Needs

Handling payroll for your team can be a daunting task, and properly using overtime pay and comp time make it an even more challenging one. Luckily, Hourly , a workers' comp, payroll and time tracking platform, can help. 

Besides its time tracking solution, Hourly also provides you with great tools for handling payroll and workers’ comp . You can see a full overview of hours worked by each employee and the salary that is due to them.

Hourly also syncs your payroll data directly to your workers’ comp policy so you only pay exactly what you owe on your premiums, not an estimate. Its goal is lower audit risk, faster payroll runs, and better claims and safety services for small businesses everywhere . Hourly is a licensed insurance agent with products underwritten by various insurance companies.

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Compensatory Time Off

Fact sheet: compensatory time off, description.

Compensatory time off is

  • Time off with pay in lieu of overtime pay for irregular or occasional overtime work, or
  • When permitted under agency flexible work schedule programs, time off with pay in lieu of overtime pay for regularly scheduled or irregular or occasional overtime work.

Employee Coverage

Compensatory time off may be approved in lieu of overtime pay for irregular or occasional overtime work for both FLSA exempt and nonexempt employees who are covered by the definition of "employee" at 5 U.S.C. 5541(2).

Compensatory time off can also be approved for a "prevailing rate employee," as defined at 5 U.S.C. 5342(2), but there is no authority to require that any prevailing rate (wage) employee be compensated for irregular or occasional overtime work by granting compensatory time off.

Compensatory time off may be approved (not required) in lieu of regularly scheduled overtime work only for employees, including wage employees, who are ordered to work overtime hours under flexible work schedules. See 5 U.S.C. 6123(a)(1).

Agencies may require that an FLSA exempt employee (as defined at 5 U.S.C. 5541(2)) receive compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay for irregular or occasional overtime work, but only for an FLSA exempt employee whose rate of basic pay is above the rate for GS-10, step 10. No mandatory compensatory time off is permitted for wage employees or in lieu of FLSA overtime pay.

Time Limits

Flsa-exempt employees.

An FLSA-exempt employee must use accrued compensatory time off by the end of the 26th pay period after the pay period during which it was earned.

An agency may provide that an FLSA-exempt employee who (1) fails to take earned compensatory time off within 26 pay periods or (2) transfers to another agency or separates from Federal service before the expiration of the 26 pay period time limit-

  • Receive payment for the unused compensatory time off at the overtime rate in effect when earned or
  • Forfeit the unused compensatory time off, unless failure to use the compensatory time off is due to an exigency of the service beyond the employee's control. (An FLSA-exempt employee whose earned compensatory time off would otherwise be forfeited due to an exigency of service beyond the employee's control must receive payment for the unused compensatory time off at the overtime rate in effect when earned.)

FLSA-nonexempt employees

An FLSA-nonexempt employee must use accrued compensatory time off by the end of the 26th pay period after the pay period during which it was earned.

If accrued compensatory time off is not used by an FLSA-nonexempt employee within 26 pay periods or if the FLSA-nonexempt employee transfers to another agency or separates from Federal service before the expiration of the 26 pay period time limit, the employee must be paid for the earned compensatory time off at the overtime rate in effect when earned.

Separation or leave without pay status due to service in the uniform service or on-the-job injury

An FLSA-exempt or nonexempt employee must be paid for compensatory time off not used by the end of the 26th pay period after the pay period during which it was earned at the overtime rate in effect when earned if the employee is unable to use the compensatory time off because of separation or placement in a leave without pay status (1) to perform service in the uniformed services or (2) because of an on-the-job injury with entitlement to injury compensation under 5 U.S.C. chapter 81.

Compensatory time off to an employee's credit as of May 14, 2007

See 5 CFR 550.114(e) and 551.531(e) for special rules regarding the administration of compensatory time off to an employee's credit as of May 14, 2007.

1 hour of compensatory time off is granted for each hour of overtime work.

Questions and Answers on Compensatory Time Off in Lieu of Overtime Pay

FLSA-exempt employees earn compensatory time off in lieu of title 5 overtime pay under 5 U.S.C. 5542 and 5 CFR 550.113, and are subject to OPM's compensatory time off regulations at 5 CFR 550.114. FLSA-nonexempt employees earn compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay under section 7 of the FLSA (29 U.S.C. 207) and 5 CFR 551.501, and are subject to OPM's compensatory time off regulations at 5 CFR 551.531. Both 5 CFR 550.114 and 5 CFR 551.531 are derived from the statutory authority governing compensatory time off in 5 U.S.C. 5543 and, for employees under flexible work schedules, 5 U.S.C. 6123(a)(1). An employee's unused compensatory time off is subject to the regulations under which it was earned, regardless of the employee's current FLSA exemption status.

Example: An employee earns 16 hours of compensatory time off under 5 CFR 551.531 in lieu of FLSA overtime pay while employed in an FLSA-nonexempt position.

The employee is promoted to an FLSA-exempt position 6 months later, but does not use the 16 hours of compensatory time off within 26 pay periods after the pay period during which it was earned. As provided by 5 CFR 551.531(d), the employee must be paid for the 16 hours of unused compensatory time off at the overtime rate in effect when earned. The employee is entitled to receive payment for the compensatory time off even if the employing agency's policy under 5 CFR 550.114(d) is to require forfeiture of compensatory time off earned in lieu of title 5 overtime pay if the compensatory time off is not taken within 26 pay periods.

Agencies must provide payment for, or require forfeiture of, compensatory time off under the conditions set forth in 5 CFR 550.114(d)-(f) and 5 CFR 551.531(d)-(f), as applicable. The general rule is that accrued compensatory time off must be liquidated (i.e., paid) or forfeited (as applicable under agency policies) if not used by the end of the 26th pay period after the pay period during which it was earned. Exceptions to the general rule relate to the following circumstances: (1) the 3-year grandfathering period for any compensatory time off to an employee's credit as of May 14, 2007, which must be used by the end of the pay period ending 3 years after May 14, 2007; (2) transfer to another agency; (3) separation from Federal service; and (4) separation or placement in a leave without pay status in connection with service in the uniformed services or entitlement to workers' compensation based on an on-the-job injury. (When exception #4 applies, the employee must be paid for the unused compensatory time off; forfeiture is not an option.)

  • What entities are considered an "agency" for the purpose of triggering the payment/forfeiture of unused compensatory time off at the time of transfer to another agency? View more For the purposes of the compensatory time off regulations, the term "agency" is defined under 5 CFR 550.103 to mean a department (as defined in this section) and a legislative or judicial branch agency which has positions subject to subchapter V (Premium Pay) of chapter 55 of title 5, U.S. Code. The term "department" is defined under 5 CFR 550.103 to mean an executive agency and a military department. (See 5 U.S.C. 101-105 and 5541(1).) Since the military departments (Army, Navy, and Air Force) have standing as separate agencies, the rest of the Department of Defense as a group is treated as a separate agency.

Yes. Agencies are required to provide payment for accrued compensatory time off under the conditions set forth in 5 CFR 550.114 and 5 CFR 551.531. However, an agency has discretionary authority to provide payment for accrued compensatory time off in other circumstances. This discretionary authority should be exercised by issuing formal policies so that employees are treated consistently.

Additional situations in which an agency may choose to provide for payment of compensatory time off include, but are not limited to, the following:

Example 1: A Federal employee moves to a position with a different FLSA exemption status (i.e., from an FLSA-nonexempt position to an FLSA-exempt position or vice versa).

An employee moving to a position within the same agency that has a different FLSA exemption status may have his or her compensatory time off balance paid out according to that agency's policy at the time of his or her change in exemption status. Alternatively, an agency may choose to maintain that employee's compensatory time off after a change in FLSA exemption status, subject to the regulations under which the compensatory time off was earned. (Under this latter alternative, the agency must maintain separate balances for compensatory time off earned under 5 CFR 551.531 in lieu of FLSA overtime pay versus compensatory time off earned under 5 CFR 550.114 in lieu of title 5 overtime pay.)

Example 2: An employee transfers to another component within the same agency.

The agency may choose to provide payment for compensatory time off when a Federal employee transfers to another component within the same agency. Conversely, the agency may allow the employee to maintain his or her compensatory time off balance in the new position, subject to the regulations under which it was earned. (See A3 for information on the definition of "agency" for this purpose.)

Example 3: An employee is placed in a Senior Executive Service (SES) position.

Each agency should establish policies governing the handling of accrued compensatory time off for an employee who is placed in an SES position and thus no longer covered by 5 U.S.C. 5543. The agency may choose to (1) provide payment for any balance of compensatory time off accrued before placement in the SES position at the rate at which it was earned; or (2) allow the employee to use the accrued compensatory time off while in the SES position, subject to the normal time limits established in OPM regulations.

  • May an agency require an employee to forfeit unused compensatory time off under circumstances in addition to those identified in OPM regulations? View more An agency may require an employee to forfeit legitimately earned compensatory time off only under the circumstances identified in OPM regulations. An agency may not establish a policy requiring an employee to forfeit unused compensatory time off earned under 5 CFR 550.114 in lieu of title 5 overtime pay in circumstances not identified in that section. An agency may not require an employee to forfeit compensatory time off earned under 5 CFR 551.531 in lieu of FLSA overtime pay under any circumstances.
  • 5 U.S.C. 5543 and 5 U.S.C. 6123(a)(1)
  • 5 CFR 550.114 and 551.531
  • Comptroller General opinions: B-183751, October 3, 1975, and
  • October 19, 1976; 58 Comp. Gen. 1 (1978)
  • Section 1610 of Public Law 104-201, the National Defense Authorization Act, 1997

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Travelmath

Travel Time Calculator

Quick links, travel duration calculator.

Travelmath provides an online travel time calculator to help you figure out flight and driving times. You can compare the results to see the effect on the total duration of your trip. Usually, the flight time will be shorter, but if the destination is close, the driving time can still be reasonable.

Another popular tool is the time difference calculator, which can be used to check the time zone change anywhere in the world. This is especially useful if you're making international calls, since you can find the best time to schedule your phone call.

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  1. How to Track Comp Time in Excel (with Quick Steps)

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  2. Fillable Online MCBJ Compensatory Time for Travel (CTT) Tracking Form

    travel compensatory time calculator

  3. Travel Time Reliability: How to Measure and Why it is Important?

    travel compensatory time calculator

  4. Pay Administration 1 Compensatory Time for Travel COMPENSATORY

    travel compensatory time calculator

  5. COMPENSATORY TIME RECORD Clear Form

    travel compensatory time calculator

  6. PPT

    travel compensatory time calculator

VIDEO

  1. Time to Calculate 👀

  2. Measuring Efficiently Saving time

  3. They owe you compensatory time #IEPJourney #InclusiveLearning #SpecialEdSuccess #AdvocateForInclusio

  4. Time for the calculator

  5. Paano mag solve ng Estimated Time of Arrival in simplest way possible

  6. 03.27.2023 CTA Compensatory Time Joint Study Committee

COMMENTS

  1. Compensatory Time Off for Travel

    minus Travel time within regular working hours: 4.5 hours Travel to/from airport within limits of official duty station: 2 hours Compensatory time off for travel: 6.5 hours Back to Top Example 2: Travel to a temporary duty station on a nonworkday An employee is required to travel to a temporary duty station for a week-long conference.

  2. Compensatory Time Off for Travel

    Compensatory time off for travel is credited and used in increments of one-tenth of an hour (6 minutes) or one-quarter of an hour (15 minutes). Employees must comply with their agency's procedures for requesting credit within the time period required by the agency.

  3. PDF Tools for Determining Compensatory Time Off for Travel

    Compensatory time off for travel is a form of compensatory time off that may be earned by an employee for time spent in a travel status away from the employee's official duty station when such time is NOT otherwise compensable. The following provides scenarios whereby compensatory time may, or may not, be earned:

  4. PDF DS-5106 Worksheet for Caclulating Comp Time for Travel

    WORKSHEET FOR CALCULATING COMP TIME FOR TRAVEL Name (Last, First, MI) Purpose of Travel Dates of Travel (mm-dd-yyyy) Pay Period(s) Start Date End Date NOTE: Travel time and duration based on the time zone from which the travel originated.

  5. Compensatory Time Off for Travel

    If an employee travels directly between his or her home and a temporary duty station outside the limits of the employee's official duty station (e.g., driving to and from a 3-day conference), the agency must deduct the employee's normal home-to-work/work-to-home commuting time from the creditable travel time.

  6. Overtime, Comp Time, and Credit Hours

    To determine the maximum number of comp time hours that you can accrue per pay period, please use the , external,TTS-only, Bi-weekly Comp Time Cap Calculator. You should use your accrued comp time before using Annual Leave.

  7. Special compensatory time off for travel

    Hr Practitioners Leave Policies Special compensatory time off for travel Purpose This program allows employees to accrue compensatory time off for time spent by an employee in a travel status away from the employee's official duty station when such time is not otherwise compensable.

  8. PDF Questions and Answers on Compensatory Time Off for Travel

    What is compensatory time off for travel? A. Compensatory time off for travel is a new form of compensatory time off that may be earned by an employee for time spent in a travel status away from the employee's official duty station when such time is not otherwise compensable. Q2. When is this provision effective? A.

  9. PDF Compensatory Time for Travel

    The Travel Authorization (Travel orders) State traveler's eligibility. (Cont'd) Approval for CTT. Upon completion of the trip. A written request w/supporting documentation must be submitted to the supervisor. The request must take place within five working days of completion of the travel.

  10. PDF CIVILIAN PERSONNEL FLIGHT FACTSHEET

    COMPENSATORY TIME OFF FOR TRAVEL Applicable to U.S. appropriated fund civilian employees PURPOSE: To explain the use of and processes for compensatory time off for travel, which is earned by an employee for time spent in a travel status away from the employee's official duty station when such time is not otherwise compensable. Compensable.

  11. 3 Fam 3170 Compensatory Time Off for Travel

    Compensatory time off for travel is forfeited: (1) Except as provided in 3 FAM 3176 (d), if not used by the end of the 26th pay period during which it was earned. NOTE: The 26 pay periods run from the time travel was completed, not from the time it was credited; (2) Upon voluntary transfer to another agency;

  12. PDF COMPENSATORY TIME OFF FOR TRAVEL COMPUTATION AND APPROVAL FORM

    Commuting Time: (1) Commuting outside an employee's regular work hours between an employee's home and a temporary duty station or transportation terminal outside the limits of the official duty...

  13. PDF COMPENSATORY TIME OFF FOR TRAVEL

    Compensation of time in a travel status (CTT) was limited to the circumstances enumerated in 5 CFR 550.112(g) for exempt employees (e.g., Involves the performance of actual work while traveling) and 5 CFR 551.422 for employees covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (e.g., An employee is required to drive a vehicle or perform other ...

  14. Hours of Work for Travel

    In general, overtime hours are hours of work that are ordered or approved (or are "suffered or permitted" for FLSA-covered employees) and are performed by an employee in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a workweek. (See 5 U.S.C. 5542 (a), 5544 (a), and 6121 (6) and (7), and 5 CFR 550.111 and 551.501. Note exceptions.)

  15. Computation Examples

    Computation Examples Select a topic to display related computation examples. Actual Expense Allowance (AEA) City Pair Program Overseas Cost-of-Living Allowances (OCONUS COLA) Deductible Meals Dual Lodging Emergency Leave Flat Rate Per Diem Transition Funded Environmental and Morale Leave (FEML), Rest and Recuperation (R&R), and Special R&R

  16. What Is Employee Comp Time and How To Calculate It

    To calculate comp time, multiply the number of hours worked over 40 hours per week times 1.5 to determine the comp time due. (Total work hours - 40) × 1.5 = Comp time In the example above, Jane worked 12 hours beyond her 40-hour work week. Jane's employer will multiply 12 times 1.5 to get 18 hours. 18 hours is the amount of comp time she's earned.

  17. 5 CFR Part 550 Subpart N -- Compensatory Time Off for Travel

    The employing agency must credit an employee with compensatory time off for creditable time in a travel status as provided in § 550.1404. The agency may authorize credit in increments of one-tenth of an hour (6 minutes) or one-quarter of an hour (15 minutes). Agencies must track and manage compensatory time off granted under this subpart ...

  18. Officials explain compensatory time off for travel

    Compensatory time off for travel does not apply to travel to permanent change-of-duty stations. If an employee is normally eligible to receive compensation for travel time--but that compensation ...

  19. Compensatory Time Off for Travel

    You should use pay code 046 for "Travel Compensatory Time - Earned" and pay code 047 for "Travel Compensatory Time - Used" in Quicktime. Any compensatory time off for travel must be used by the end of the 26th pay period after the pay period in which it was earned, or it will be forfeited.

  20. What is compensatory time off for travel?

    Sick Leave and Other Time Off; Weather and Safety Leave; Evacuation Payments During a Pandemic Health Crisis; Employee Relations; Hazardous Duty Pay Related to Exposure to COVID-19; Workplace Precautions to Prevent Exposure to COVID-19; Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP) Cybersecurity Information FAQ Toggle submenu. Cybersecurity ...

  21. What Is Comp Time—and How to Use It

    ‍ To calculate how much paid time off Tim is owed, you would multiply 10 hours by 1.5, which equals 15 hours. Essentially, Tim will receive nearly two full days off — which he will be paid for — to use as he pleases. ‍ Comp time is calculated by multiplying 1.5 times overtime hours worked. 1.5 x Number of Overtime Hours Worked = Comp Time

  22. Compensatory Time Off

    Amount 1 hour of compensatory time off is granted for each hour of overtime work. Questions and Answers on Compensatory Time Off in Lieu of Overtime Pay Which regulations apply to an employee's unused compensatory time off upon a change in his or her FLSA exemption status? View more

  23. Travel Time Calculator

    Travelmath provides an online travel time calculator to help you figure out flight and driving times. You can compare the results to see the effect on the total duration of your trip. Usually, the flight time will be shorter, but if the destination is close, the driving time can still be reasonable.