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How could comp time lead to wage theft?

Wage theft is very common in the United States. Sometimes, it happens intentionally. But there are many other cases in which employers simply make a mistake. They never intend to take wages from their own employees, but that is what ends up happening.

One example of this is if an employer uses comp time. Some employees are eligible to receive compensatory time off instead of getting paid for overtime hours. For instance, an employee who worked an extra four hours on a Friday may get time off the following Monday to make up for it. How could this lead to wage left?

The overtime pay rate

The key thing to remember is that workers are entitled to time and a half when they are working overtime hours. This has to be reflected in their comp time. They deserve an hour and a half off for every extra hour that they work. Paying them any less denies them those additional overtime payments by keeping them at their standard rate.

In the example above, the employee worked for four hours on Friday. If they are simply given four hours off that next Monday, they may think that this is fair, but it could actually be wage theft. They deserve to have six hours off to make up for the extra work that they already did. 

Addressing overtime correctly

Employers certainly need to know what steps to take to avoid wage theft, and employees need to know what options they have if they believe it has happened to them. Ideally, both sides can plan in advance and set up a payment system that is fair and under labor laws.