One reader asked what the rules are regarding makeup time.
It should first be noted that there are two different Labor Code provisions employers and employees need to know. Labor Code §204.3 regarding Comp time allows an employee to work more hours in one workweek and take the time off (at time and one-half) at a later date. This is different from the makeup time provisions of Labor Code §513, which allows an employee to work extra time in one day and make it up with time off (in an equal amount of time) during the same workweek.
Labor Code §204.3 allows an employee to compensating time off under certain circumstances in lieu of overtime compensation. First, the comp time must be at one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate. In other words, if the employee should be paid one hour of overtime, the employee must receive one and one-half hours of comp time.
Second, there must be a written agreement between the employer and the employee, or in a collective bargaining agreement, allowing comp time before the employee accrues the comp time. The employee cannot accrue more than 240 hours of comp time.
Finally, the employee must request the use of comp time in writing. Upon discharge from employment, any unused comp time shall be paid at the employee’s current rate of pay, or the average of the employee’s regular rate over the last three years, whichever is greater.
Employees can require the employer pay the comp time in cash for any accrued comp time over the preceding two pay periods. Industries under IWC Orders Nos. 1, 3, 8, 10, 13, and 14 cannot use comp time (industries handling products after harvest or preparing agricultural products for market on the farm, industries in the canning, freezing, and preserving industries, industries affecting public housekeeping and amusement and recreation industries, and the manufacturing industry.)
The Labor Commissioner has issued the following Caveat regarding comp time:
The provisions of Section 204.3 are patterned on provisions found in 29 U.S.C. §207(o). It should be noted that these compensatory time provisions are only applicable under the federal law to state and local government employees; the compensating time provisions under federal law are not applicable to employees of private employers. Any employer utilizing the provisions of Section 204.3 should be advised of this caveat as use of the compensating time provisions of the state law may result in violation of the federal law.
In other words, while a private employer can adopt a comp time plan under California law, if the employee works more than 40 hours in the workweek, the employer may owe the employee overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Labor Code §513 states:
If an employer approves a written request of an employee to make up work time that is or would be lost as a result of a personal obligation of the employee, the hours of that makeup work time, if performed in the same workweek in which the work time was lost, may not be counted towards computing the total number of hours worked in a day for purposes of the overtime requirements specified in Section 510 or 511, except for hours in excess of 11 hours of work in one day or 40 hours in one workweek. An employee shall provide a signed written request for each occasion that the employee makes a request to make up work time pursuant to this section. An employer is prohibited from encouraging or otherwise soliciting an employee to request the employer’s approval to take personal time off and make up the work hours within the same week pursuant to this section.
This Labor Code section is incorporated into each of the IWC Orders except 14:
If an employer approves a written request of an employee to make-up work time that is or would be lost as a result of a personal obligation of the employee, the hours of that make-up work time, if performed in the same workweek in which the work time was lost, may not be counted toward computing the total number of hours worked in a day for purposes of the overtime requirements, except for hours in excess of eleven (11) hours of work in one (1) day or forty (40) hours of work in one (1) workweek. If an employee knows in advance that he or she will be requesting make-up time for a personal obligation that will recur at a fixed time over a succession of weeks, the employee may request to make-up work time for up to four (4) weeks in advance; provided, however, that the make-up work must be performed in the same week that the work time was lost. An employee shall provide a signed written request for each occasion that the employee makes a request to make up a work time pursuant to this section. While an employer may inform an employee of this make-up time option, the employer is prohibited from encouraging or otherwise soliciting an employee to request the employer’s approval to take personal time off and make-up the work hours within the same workweek pursuant to this section.
The Makeup Time exception requires:
- Written request by the employee to make up time which would be lost by the employee due to a personal obligation
- Makeup hours worked in one day may not exceed eleven (11) nor, of course, may the number of makeup hours worked in one workweek exceed forty (40).
- Request may be made for makeup time for a recurring personal obligation which is “fixed in time over a succession of weeks” provided a written request is made every four (4) weeks.
- Employers are prohibited from soliciting or encouraging employees to make a request for makeup hours, but informing employees of this right is permitted.
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