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Overtime and Compensatory Time FAQs

This page applies to Merit AFSCME, Merit Supervisory and Merit Confidential staff.

These FAQs address topics related to overtime pay and compensatory time as well as holidays and leave accruals.  This information would impact Merit staff covered by AFSCME as well as Merit Supervisory & Confidential staff, unless specifically noted otherwise. Additional resources are available in the right-hand margin or refer to the FLSA, Overtime & Compensatory Time policy.  

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The FAQs are listed below and broken down by categories. To access the answer, click or tap the corresponding question.

A. Overtime Pay and Compensatory Time

  1. When am I eligible to earn overtime?
    Overtime is earned for all Hours Worked over 40 hours in a workweek (e.g., Sunday-Saturday).
  2. At what rate is overtime pay calculated?
    Overtime is calculated at the rate of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.
  3. Am I eligible to accrue compensatory time in lieu of cash overtime pay for Hours Worked over 40 in a workweek?
    Yes. For public employers, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows for the accrual of compensatory time in lieu of cash overtime at a rate of one and one-half hours for Hours Worked over 40 in a workweek.
  4. What is the maximum number of compensatory time hours that can be earned before the overtime must be paid in cash?
    Compensatory time accruals will be limited to 80 hours at any given time. As compensatory time is used, additional compensatory time may then be accrued up to the 80 hour limit. Compensatory balances in excess of 80 hours will be paid as Comp Time Pay on the following month’s paycheck.
    In addition, compensatory time shall be paid to the staff member if they separate employment, transfer to a different agency or regents institution, or move to a position designated as FLSA exempt (not eligible for overtime). In addition a move to a different department will result in a payout of any compensatory time earned unless approved otherwise by the receiving department head.
  5. Who determines whether I am compensated for Hours Worked over 40 hours in a workweek in the form of cash overtime or in compensatory time?
    The decision whether to utilize overtime pay or compensatory time rests with the employee, however management may require overtime hours to be paid in cash compensation.
  6. If my weekly work schedule is part-time (i.e. 20 hours per week), as a non-exempt (hourly) employee if I work more than 20 hours in a particular week, are those extra hours paid at an overtime rate?
    No, the additional hours would be paid at a straight time rate. Only Hours Worked over 40 in a workweek are eligible for overtime pay or compensatory time.
  7. Can I work overtime without the approval of my supervisor?
    Whether approved or not, all hours of work must be recorded on the timecard and compensated, including overtime. However, employees are encouraged to discuss overtime approval processes for their department with their supervisor and to receive prior approval from their supervisor before working overtime hours. Disciplinary action may result if supervisor approval is not properly obtained for working overtime.
  8. What are the procedures for compensatory time usage?
    Each department should have a process for requesting the use of compensatory time. Employees who have accrued compensatory time must be allowed to use that time off within a reasonable period after making a request so long as the use does not unduly disrupt the operations of the department. The supervisor of an employee who has accrued compensatory time may require the employee to use accrued compensatory time.
    Compensatory time shall be paid to the staff member if they separate employment, transfer to a different state agency or regents institution, or move to an FLSA exempt (not eligible for overtime) position. In addition, a move to a different department will result in a payout of any compensatory time earned unless approved otherwise by the receiving department head.

B. Hours Worked Calculation

  1. What constitutes “Hours Worked” for the purposes of calculating overtime? 
    Only actual Hours Worked are used for the purposes of calculating overtime. This includes Regular, Excused Duty, and Call Back. Paid absences such as Holiday, Sick Leave, Vacation, Compensatory Time Used or Jury Duty are not considered Hours Worked for the purposes of calculating overtime and therefore will be paid at a straight time rate.
  2. How will I be paid for Hours Worked in a week that due to vacation, holiday, or sick leave I have more than 40 hours coded?
    For staff paid on an Hourly Paid Salary basis:

    These hours will be paid to you as a ‘Salary Adjust’ for hourly paid salary employees on your paycheck based on the Payroll Periods and Paydays schedule. For example, the week including the Independence Day holiday, you should code 8 hours of Holiday for July 4. If you work 10 regular hours on Monday, and 8 regular hours each on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, you will have a total of 42 hours for the week. The 2 hours over 40 are not overtime because holiday hours are not Hours Worked for the purposes of calculating overtime. You would use the 'Additional Regular Over 40' timecard code to record those two hours over 40.  Assuming timely submittal and approval of the timecard, you will be paid for these 2 extra hours at straight time on your July 31 paycheck because the week including July 4 is prior to the pay period cutoff in the Payroll Periods and Paydays schedule. As a reminder, you should always receive approval from your supervisor to work additional hours above your normal scheduled hours.

    For staff paid on an Hourly basis:

    These hours should be coded on the timecard as 'Additional Regular Over 40' and will be paid the same as the Regular hours are currently paid. They will be paid at the employee’s base rate of pay based on the Payroll Periods and Paydays schedule.

  3. Can I elect to work unpaid hours in my regular job to help get the job done without incurring additional cost to my department?
    No, all Hours Worked must be recorded on the weekly timecard. Working “off the clock” is strictly prohibited.
  4. Do break and meal periods count as Hours Worked?
    Bona fide meal periods of 30 minutes or more where no work is performed do not count as Hours Worked. Breaks or meal periods of less than 30 minutes or if spent performing work should be considered Hours Worked.
  5. I received 3 hours of Call Back time but only worked 1 hour. Do all 3 hours count for the purposes of calculating overtime? 
    Yes, all 3 hours of Call Back are considered Hours Worked for the purposes of calculating overtime.
  6. Can my supervisor make adjustments to my normal work schedule in a given week, such as limiting time worked on certain days if extra hours are worked other days, for the purpose of ensuring that my total Hours Worked do not exceed 40 in the workweek?
    Yes, this is an option for managing work time and the departmental budget.

C. Holidays and Vacation and Sick Leave Accruals

  1. How are holiday hours calculated? 
    Full-time merit employees receive 8 hours of holiday pay for each University holiday. If the University holiday falls on a normally scheduled day off, they will receive 8 hours of holiday pay or may bank the holiday for use later. Part-time merit employees receive prorated holiday pay based on their FTE (Full Time Equivalent). For example, an employee who is half-time, or .5 FTE, will receive 4 hours (8 x .5) of holiday pay. An employee who is on phased retirement with a .65 FTE will receive 5.2 hours (8 x .65) of holiday pay. Another way to calculate your holiday pay is to take the number of hours normally scheduled in a week and divide by 5 days. For example, someone with a 24 hour/week schedule, no matter how those hours are scheduled throughout the week, would receive 4.8 hours (24 / 5) of holiday pay.
  2. I don’t have a traditional Monday through Friday schedule. What happens when I am scheduled to work on an actual holiday and not the UNI observed holiday? 
    Merit employees with a work schedule other than Monday through Friday who are scheduled to work on an actual holiday may take their holiday on the actual holiday instead of the UNI observed holiday. For example, an employee who normally works Sunday through Thursday and where an actual holiday falls on Sunday and Monday is UNI’s observed holiday would take the holiday on Sunday and not Monday.
  3. How do I record my holiday hours if I am normally scheduled to work more than 8 hours on a holiday (for example, a schedule of 4 ten hour days)? 
    For full-time employees, when a holiday falls on a regularly scheduled work day, will receive holiday benefit equal to their scheduled work day, but not less than 8 hours.  If an employee regularly works a shift longer than 8 hours, for example 10 hours, they will receive 10 hours of holiday benefit if the holiday falls on a regularly scheduled work day.  If the holiday falls on a day the employee is not regularly scheduled to work, they will receive 8 hours of holiday benefit. For example, an employee who works a 10 hour shift Tuesday through Friday, would receive 10 hours of holiday benefit if the holiday falls on a Wednesday but 8 hours if the holiday falls on a Monday.    
  4. How do I record my holiday hours if the UNI holiday falls on a day I normally don’t work? 
    When a UNI holiday falls on a day you normally don’t work, you will code either Hol Pay (sch day off) or Banked Hol Earned. If you code Banked Hol Earned you will be able to take that time off, coding Banked Hol Used, at a future date within one calendar year. If you code Hol Pay (sch day off) you will be paid these hours at your regular rate.
  5. Do I receive a premium if I work on a holiday? 
    Any non-temporary merit employee working on a holiday will receive their holiday pay plus time and one-half for hours worked, either as Holiday Premium Pay or Comp Time Earned. Employees working on a holiday should code Holiday for the hours of holiday benefit and also either Holiday Premium or Comp Time Earned for the hours actually worked on the holiday.
  6. If I work 8 hours on a holiday and also work another 40 hours that same work week, do I receive overtime for the extra 8 hours I worked? 
    Federal regulations require employers to pay covered employees for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate no less than time and one-half the regular rate. In this situation, the employee would receive pay at one and one-half times their regular rate for working on the holiday. In order for hours worked other than those worked on the holiday to qualify for overtime, those hours would need to equal more than 40 hours. In the asked example, the employee would receive 40 hours plus 8 holiday hours at their regular rate plus 8 hours at the premium rate (1.5 times their regular rate) or 8 hours of compensatory time earned. If compensatory time is elected, this would translate to 12 hours of compensatory time to use at a later date.
  7. I work a shift from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., spanning two calendar days. When a holiday falls on the second calendar day, how many hours of Holiday Premium pay do I receive? 
    In this example, the employee would receive Holiday Premium (or Comp Time Earned) for hours worked from midnight to 7:00 a.m. on the holiday. 7 hours of Holiday Premium or Comp Time Earned should be coded. If the employee works again at 11 p.m. on the holiday they would code an additional hour as Holiday Premium or Comp Time Earned because it also falls on the observed holiday.