Comp 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.
For example, it can be earned if you are traveling outside normal work hours for agency-related work purposes but not if you are on union-related business. Further, compensatory time can be earned if you are traveling between an official duty station and a temporary one or between two temporary ones; however, it can’t be earned if you are moving between to permanent duty stations. By law, one hour of comp time is granted for each hour of overtime work performed.
Comp time policies vary
Compensatory time policies vary between those who are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act and those who are exempt from it. Exempt employees are generally those in executive, administrative and professional positions, whether they are under the general schedule or the wage system. Nonexempt employees include all employees in grades GS-4, those in GS-5 through 10 (and any prevailing rate employees) who aren’t in bona fide executive, administrative and professional positions.
Whether you are exempt or nonexempt from the FLSA, your agency can approve comp time for you. It can also approve it if you are a prevailing rate employee. However, if you are either a nonexempt or prevailing rate employee, it can’t require you to accept comp time in lieu of overtime pay for any irregular or occasional overtime work. On the other hand, if you are an FLSA exempt employee, you can be required to accept comp time in lieu of overtime pay in those situations, but only if your basic pay rate is above that of a GS-10, step 10.
Compensatory time off in lieu of overtime generally must be used within 26 pay periods. If you are an FLSA exempt employee and you don’t use your comp time within those limits, you will lose it unless you were unable to do so because of circumstances beyond your control. If you are an FLSA nonexempt employee and don’t take the comp time within the limit, your agency will have to pay you for that overtime work at the overtime rate that was in effect during the pay period in which the overtime work was completed.