Chapter 2-3, Hourly Compensation for Overtime Work
(July 29, 2002)
An update to this chapter is forthcoming to reflect revisions to OPM's regulations, effective May 14, 2007.
Hourly overtime pay for EXEMPT employees is determined under title 5, U.S.C. rules. Overtime pay for NONEXEMPT employees is determined under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules.
NOTE: In some cases, such as determining hours of work, FLSA rules incorporate certain title 5 rules. This chapter does NOT cover non-hourly premium pay, such as annual premium pay for AUO work or availability pay for criminal investigators. It also does NOT cover special pay systems, such as compensation for immigration inspectional work under the Act of March 2, 1931.
- Overtime pay.
- General. It is the Department's policy that supervisors and managers will, as a matter of good management practice, make every effort to minimize overtime work, and establish necessary controls over its authorization. NOTE: As provided by 5 CFR 550.111(c), irregular or occasional overtime work--i.e., overtime work that is not regularly scheduled--may only be authorized in writing by an official to whom this authority has been specifically delegated.
- Except as provided in paragraph B.1.b.(2) below, minutes of irregular or occasional overtime work under 5 CFR 550.112(a)(2) and 551.521(b) will be accumulated and rounded on a workweek basis.
- For employees subject to a 14-day work period under paragraph B.1.e. below, minutes of irregular or occasional overtime work under 5 CFR 550.112(a)(2) and 551.521(b) will be accumulated and rounded on a 14-day basis.
Note: Minutes to be accumulated include those creditable based on exceeding the applicable overtime standards, whether daily, weekly, or 14-day. Under OPM regulations, no minute may be counted more than one time.
- Official Duty Station. For purposes of computing overtime pay (and compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay) for travel, the Department has determined that the official duty station is the largest of the following areas in which the employee's designated post of duty is located:
- The corporate limits of the city or other jurisdiction;
- The Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by OMB;
- The Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by OMB; or
- The Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by OMB.
- FLSA Responsibilities. Bureau heads will ensure that:
- Managers and supervisors are informed of their responsibilities in administering the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA, including the obligation to compensate an employee for work that is suffered or permitted;
- Position classifiers include the basis for each position's exempt/nonexempt status in the position evaluation and document exempt/nonexempt status on the position description cover sheet; and
- Employees are informed of their exempt/nonexempt status and provided information about FLSA overtime rules.
- FLSA Work Period. Under the authority of 5 CFR 551.541(c), the Department has established 14 days as the work period for nonexempt employees engaged in law enforcement activities under section 7(k) of the FLSA.
- Compensatory Time Off in Lieu of Overtime Pay.
- Delegation to Bureaus. At the option of the bureau:
- Exempt and nonexempt GS and prevailing rate (wage) employees may request compensatory time off in lieu of pay for irregular or occasional overtime work.
- Exempt and nonexempt GS and prevailing rate (wage) employees on a flexible work schedule may request compensatory time off in lieu of pay for regularly scheduled as well as irregular or occasional overtime work.
- GS employees in exempt positions whose pay exceeds the maximum rate for grade GS-10 may be compensated for irregular or occasional overtime work with an equivalent amount of compensatory time off.
Note: Compensatory time earned by exempt GS employees may be limited by the maximum earnings limitations in 5 CFR 550.105 through 550.107, as applicable. These limitations do not apply to wage employees, or to FLSA overtime pay or compensatory time off in lieu of FLSA overtime pay.
- Time Limit on Use, Forfeiture, Payment--Exempt Employees.
- An exempt employee who fails to use compensatory time by the end of the leave year
following that in which it was earned will lose the right to the time, unless he or she has:
(a) Requested use of it during the year following the year in which it was earned on a date prior to the start of the third biweekly pay period before the end of the leave year; and
(b) Failed to use it because of an exigency of the service beyond his or her control.
- An exempt employee who makes a timely request, but fails to use compensatory time
because of an exigency of the service beyond his or her control, must be paid for the
overtime work at the rate in effect for the work period in which it was earned, unless the
Assistant Attorney General for Administration extends the time period. (Overtime rates are prescribed by law.)
- Time Limit on Use and Payment--Nonexempt Employees. A nonexempt employee who fails to use compensatory time by the end of the leave year following that in which it was earned must be paid for the overtime work at the rate in effect for the work period in which it was earned.
- Employees Who Transfer or Separate. An employee who has unused compensatory time to his/her credit at the time of his/her transfer or separation will be paid for the time at the rate in effect at the time it was earned.
- Overtime Pay. Written approval for overtime work will include a statement explaining why the overtime work is needed.
- Compensatory Time Off in Lieu of Overtime Pay
- Official Certification. An official who orders or authorizes overtime work will certify in writing that compensatory time off, rather than pay, is the authorized and allowable form of compensation. When practicable, the certification will be made at the time the overtime work is ordered.
- Request to Earn Compensatory Time. A nonexempt employee who requests to EARN compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay will make the request in writing.
- Request to Use Compensatory Time. An employee's request to use compensatory time will be:
- made in writing on SF-71, Application for Leave;
- subject to the same minimum increments as paid leave; and
- may be granted or denied by an official empowered to grant annual leave.
- Denial of Request to Use Compensatory Time. Denial of a request to use compensatory time will be made in writing on SF-71 that is signed and dated by an official
empowered to grant annual leave.
- Time and Attendance Report. Compensatory time to be credited to an employee's account, as well as any time used, will be reported on the time and attendance report.
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Updated: September 2012