Comp time

I have not worked for a company that has had a comp time policy in place.  My new employer allows it, but it is a case-by-case basis, and is monitored by the department directors.  Any suggestions on how to streamline the process while making sure we are in compliance?


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  • Please explain what you mean by comp time, just to be sure we're all on the same page.

    If it's what I think of as comp time and it's being used for hourly people in the private sector, it's illegal.
  • No, not for hourly.  Strictly salaried employees.  Example - a manager went out of town to visit family.  I asked the director for his vacation request and was told "he had these hours coming to him" and he was gone from the office for 4 days.  This same employee has also accrued 236 hours of vacation becuase we allow some vacation rollover and, on occasion, we also allow vacation payout.  (When I came on board there was no structure to any of this!)  My conerns are:

    1. It isn't being monitored and the "comp time" hours being given are not accurate.
    2. Employees are not taking vacation days as they should be, and therefore have more hours to be paid out.
    3. Some departments allow it, some don't.
    4. Some employees are getting a "comp" day if they are scheduled to work on a holiday, some are not.

    There just isn't any structure or policy for them to follow and it needs to be rectified.  I am looking for suggestions on how to do that.

  • AZHR, I empathize with you greatly.  When I came onboard here, I fought to put a stop to unfettered comp time.  As a happy medium, when manager want to approve comp time, they have to write a memo for the file justifying the comp time award and giving a timeframe for its use.  After a few months of back and forth over what was enough of a memo (and a few "what ifs"), management stopped awarding comp time until a better tracking mechanism could be created.  That was 8 months ago, and the desire for a comp time policy has gone away.  (MUCH to my relief).

  • I actually just fielded the answer to a question about this from a manager.

    I'm glad you aren't dealing with hourly employees on this.

    The most disturbing thing to me is item 4, particularly if it happens within the same department.  If one department awards it and another does not and they are respectively consistent about that all the time, it's less of a problem but still a pain to manage.  Either way, that issue brings up Fair Pay Act issues and concerns about discrimination.  That, in and of itself, should give you significant leverage to address this, if that is what's going on.

    We do not allow comp time here at all, although the request for it comes up from time to time.

    In theory, having people work less one day because they worked more on some other day goes against the very idea of the salary basis of pay because it is a back door methodology for paying based on hours worked rather than on goal attainment.  At the same time, from a practical standbpoint, managers want to be able to reward people for staying at work until 11:00 PM working on a proposal or for working 2 shifts because the night person on the other shift in a critical role is out ill that day.

    There are sort of three paths you can take on this.  One is to say that bonus time, granted in increments of full days only, is based on the number of hours worked in a work week.  However, that pretty much entails the need for someone to document that the threshold has been met.  If you want to try to kill it, push for having salaried people clock in and out and express concerns about Fair Pay Act and discrimination wiggling its way into your organization.  Salaried people normally don't like to use time clocks, so that may kill it right there.  If you want to be more accomodating, create a form that has the required information on it for the supervisor to fill out rather than asking them to write some sort of open ended memo.  The form can always have plenty of open ended explanation space, but having the manager document the employee's hours worked on a day-by-day basis would probably minimize the desire to throw comp time around.  The third method, and the one that will be easiest for everyone but also open the door to more comp time being granted is to  come up with a program that allows a manager to award bonus vacation time for "going above and beyond" and have them explain how the employee went "above and beyond" (this is back to the memo idea) and start keeping track of the reasons given and the awards granted.  Eventually, standards will come out on their own or you will be able to set some based on established practice and they should be pretty much in keeping with the culture of your company.

    One thing that usually contributes to a situation like this is a lack of direction from above.  Perhaps HR should negotiate with business leaders at a higher level to decide if they even want this going on.  In a small to medium company, I would think that you would want to know that the CFO is aware of the practice because he or she will probably want a program that is measurable if he or she will even allow it to continue.  In a larger company, push it up the ladder to be dealt with at a true decision making level.

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