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Know the difference between comp time and overtime pay

Do you know your rights when it comes to compensatory time offered through your job? This perk, often called "comp time," is provided in lieu of overtime pay for employees who would rather have extra time off instead of the additional money. Although a variety of employers offer comp time benefits for their workers, not all comply with the employment law requirements that surround this particular topic. Knowing your comp time rights is just as important as understanding the various aspects of employment discrimination, including age and gender discrimination.

Your employer may offer to "pay" you with comp time at the rate of 1.5 hours for every hour worked. If your Michigan employer chooses to offer comp time, it must be a voluntary arrangement, not a requirement. A written agreement must be drafted in which you and the employer agree to the terms. Further, employers must keep detailed records documenting your comp time accrual, and they must pay you the comp time within 30 days of your request. Finally, employers can only offer you comp time if you are offered at least 10 days of paid time off every year, and comp time cannot exceed 240 hours.

Michigan employees do not have to accept comp time in lieu of overtime. Overtime laws pertain to hourly employees who work more than 40 hours in a given week. Non-exempt employees -- generally known as hourly workers -- must receive 1.5 times their regular wage if they work past 40 hours in a week. Certain classes of employees are considered exempt from this rule, including professional or administrative workers who are paid on a salary basis.

No matter your position, you deserve to be paid a fair wage and receive the overtime or comp time that you deserve. If your employer has not kept adequate records or has denied you the pay you have earned, you may have legal recourse. Michigan workers should not have to deal with any type of employment discrimination where their overtime pay is concerned.

Source: Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, "An Overview of the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act Minimum Wage and Overtime," accessed July 16, 2015

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