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Posted October 24, 2016

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Exempt employees no longer accrue comp time for winter break

Antonio Gonzales, assistant superintendent for Human Resources, explains that changes under the Fair Labors Standards Act and the current budget situation have changed the way winter break is being handled this year.

A memo from Antonio Gonzales, assistant superintendent for Human Resources

Many “exempt” status employees are asking why they cannot accrue comp time as they have in the past for the winter break instead of being required to use annual leave. 

Because of the current budget situation and changes to regulations under the Fair Labors Standards Act (FLSA), APS changed the way it handles annual leave and “comp time” for exempt employees.  The amount of annual leave has remained the same, but FLSA-exempt employees (in general, those making more than $47,476 a year) can no longer gain additional days off through comp time. As exempt employees, they are expected to get their work done, even if it requires extra time to complete, without additional compensation.

Even though no law requires that employers give annual leave, APS has always provided paid annual leave to year-round employees. The amount of that annual leave is a matter of contract between APS and its employees. In the same way, “comp time” for “exempt” employees is also a matter of contract, not a legal requirement. 

In the past, APS allowed exempt employees to accrue “comp time” to use over the winter holiday period. In essence, this was a form of “flex time” that APS provided to exempt employees, allowing them to use “extra” hours worked during the first part of the year to offset the time they were not working during the winter break.

APS is no longer allowing that to be done. Employees are required to work, or take annual leave for, a specific number of days every year.  When APS closes during the winter break, exempt employees are not working but are still being paid, and they could not be paid for the winter break period unless those days are considered to be “paid annual leave.” 

Because APS is no longer allowing exempt employees to accumulate comp time to exchange for additional paid days off, APS now requires that annual leave be used for the winter break so that employees can continue to be paid during that time.

Should you have questions or need additional clarification please do not hesitate to contact Karen Rudy, Executive Director for Labor Relations at 889-4854. 

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