Compensation Time Given for Overtime

An employee who is entitled to overtime pay must be paid at a higher than normal rate for all overtime hours worked. This is the basic principle underlying federal and state overtime requirements. It is a fairly straightforward rule and yet, time and time again, employers try to avoid it in any number of ways. One is by offering workers compensation time (paid leave) instead of increased pay for all overtime hours. This practice violates overtime laws for private employers. If your employer refuses to pay you for overtime, either by offering compensation (“comp”) time instead or by simply failing to pay you for time spent working, contact the Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center. Representing workers throughout the state and across the country, we have the knowledge, experience and ability necessary to ensure that our clients are properly paid for the work they perform.

Federal and state laws generally require an employer to pay covered workers "time and a half" for all hours worked beyond 40 in any given workweek. That means an employee who usually makes $10 an hour must be paid $15 an hour for all time worked after the 40-hour mark. The laws apply to a broad cross-section of American workers, including those paid primarily in tips and many who earn an annual salary.

It's important to keep in mind that the focus of these statutes is on the number of hours worked in a week. An employee is not entitled to overtime for working a high number of hours in one day or for working on a weekend or holiday, unless it puts him or her over the 40-hour weekly threshold.

The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal law that imposes overtime pay requirements on both private and public employers. In order to be eligible for overtime under the Act, an employee must be classified as "non-exempt." This classification applies to the majority of workers and is based on the specific duties a certain employee performs. "Exempt" employees, who are not covered under the FLSA, are typically those in "white collar" jobs, such as executive, professional, and administrative positions, along with certain outside sales and computer workers.

Private employers are not allowed to substitute comp time for overtime pay. A worker who is covered under the overtime laws and whose employer forces him or her to accept comp time in lieu of overtime pay is authorized to file a lawsuit to recover the money owed. That includes back pay and potentially other damages. The FLSA and state overtime laws also protect a worker who files such a suit or otherwise complains about unpaid overtime from retaliation in the form of termination, demotion, OR other adverse employment actions.

If you have been wrongly denied overtime pay, contact the Chicago Overtime Law Center. Our Illinois overtime lawyers have represented clients in federal and state cases throughout the country and have successfully resolved matters related to unpaid overtime for more than $1 million. Call (312) 869-4095 or contact us online to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our Chicago overtime attorneys.