Federal agencies frequently consider employees to be “exempt” from the FLSA. This means that they are not paid time and one-half of their FLSA regular rate for overtime work. Box 35 on the SF-50 indicates an employee’s classification. “E” means an employee is exempt from the FLSA. “N” means that an employee is non-exempt. If you are mistakenly classified as exempt from the FLSA and receive less than time-and-one-half your regular rate of pay for overtime work, you may not be receiving pay you are entitled to under Federal law.
Employees often work before or after their scheduled work hours, or through their lunch breaks, without compensation. After hours work may require responding to phone calls, and checking emails or texts. It also includes time spent studying after hours while in mandatory training. If supervisors know or should know about such work, those hours may be overtime that should be compensated.
Mandatory Comp Time
If you are classified as FLSA non-exempt, meaning you receive time and one-half for overtime, you can’t be required to earn compensatory time instead of earning overtime pay. You are entitled to choose how you are compensated. If you choose to earn comp time but don’t use it within 26 pay periods, your agency must pay you overtime for the comp time you earned but didn’t use.
Certain travel time is typically compensable as overtime when traveling outside the hours of a regular work schedule. This includes time spent driving outside the 50 mile radius of a post of duty (minus the time spent in normal home to work commute time). Likewise, traveling outside the hours of regular work schedule as a passenger on a one day trip outside of the 50 mile radius of a post of duty is compensable (minus the time spent in normal home to work commute time). Travel on non-work days that correspond to the hours in your regular work day are also compensable as overtime hours. So, for example, if your regular schedule is Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and you travel on Saturday at any time between 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., you are entitled to overtime pay for those hours.
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