Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.
I am a law enforcement employee under administratively uncontrollable overtime and I am required to work two hours per day of overtime – 8 hours of normal duty and two hours of overtime covered by AUO. Sometimes I am required to attend meetings away from my official duty station. The commute and the duration of the meetings occasionally take me past ten hours of work in a day. Can I claim compensatory time for the commute and meeting when they are after my eight hours of normal duty? Or can I claim compensatory time for that work when I exceed ten hours of work?
It appears that you are asking about compensatory time off for travel. Compensatory time off for travel may be claimed by an employee receiving administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO) pay under 5 U.S.C. 5542(c)(2) if the activity meets the requirements in 5 CFR 550, subpart N, and travel time is not compensable under 5 CFR.112(g) or 5 CFR 551.422. Your time in meetings does not meet the requirements of 5 CFR 550, subpart N. Furthermore, you are already being compensated for up to ten hours of work, and thus any time under ten hours is compensable (and already compensated) and thus you may not claim compensatory time off for it.
You may be able to receive compensatory time off for travel for the amount of time you spend traveling to and from those meetings which come after you have already performed ten hours of work. However, sometimes an official duty station can comprise a geographic area rather than a specific office, and thus it is possible that the commuting you do is not technically considered to be time in a travel status. In any event, when you work more than the ten hours covered by your basic pay or AUO, you are probably eligible for compensatory time off, regular overtime pay, or some combination of the two. Also note that if you travel to the meetings in your personal vehicle, you may claim mileage expenses.
The Office of Personnel Management provides additional helpful information here: http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/html/flsaovertime.htm.
Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.
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