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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
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    Default Do any of you accrue comp time?

    I'm curious how many of the career firefighters here are able to accrue comp time? I've been led to believe that the system my department has is pretty rare.

    When it comes to work performed outside their normal shifts, my firefighters can choose to be paid in overtime or take comp time. Both are paid at time and a half. So if you work 2 hours at a fire on your off day you can take either 2 hrs of OT at time and a half or 3 hours of comp time. Comp time can be used just like vacation time whenever there's an empty slot on the calendar. The city will only let you accrue a maximum of 400 some odd hours of comp as required by federal law and they're required to cash you out when you quit or retire.

    Where I'm told it's almost unheard of is where I as administration also earns comp time, albeit straight comp time. If I come in to a fire for 4 hours on a weekend, I accrue 4 hours of comp time. I also normally work 9 hour days during the week, so that's an automatic 20 hours of comp time I accrue every month just because of that. The city is under no obligation to cash out my comp time so I have no limit on what I can accrue. It sounds like most departments only give Flex Time to their administration whereas if you work 8 "extra" hours by Friday, you can take Friday off, but you can't carry it over from week to week.


  2. #2
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Our captains and above earn 1.5x comp time for any extra hours they work outside of their regularly scheduled hours. They have one year to use the time. FF's and Lieutenant's earn 1.5x overtime pay.
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  3. #3
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    We have a similar system. We can build up as many hour of comp times as we want, but are only paid for 400 hour when we retire.

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    Forum Member sweetpete's Avatar
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    We have the comp v. ot system at our dept. I choose to acrue my comp time. But, since I'm already maxed out, all OT goes into my pay check.

    It's a great safety net, if you need it.
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    Most of our guys cash out their comp time each fiscal year (it gets paid out at the holiday rate). There is the option to retain comp time earned in a fiscal year, but you have to use by the end of the next fiscal year.

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    We estimate my comp time at about 1 day per month, which I take as an extra day off per month.

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    We have a very similar plan. Everyone but the Chief (salaried) can choose OT or comp time at 1.5x. We get cashed out down to 48 hours every 6 months to keep the auditors happy.

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    Anything over our 212 hours in 28 days can be taken as OT, comp or half and half. Can have a max of 144 hours of comp time after that it is all overtime. Can use comp times anyway you want including having hours put on your check because you need extra money that paycheck. Comp hours do not count toward overtime hours.

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    We can choose comp time or pay, both at 1.5x rate for anything over our regularly scheduled hours. Our comp time is capped at 240 hours with anything over that being automatically paid out.

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    Id like to bump this discussion to ask how other departments allow you to use your comp time.

    FLSA states the employer cannot deny comp time use simply because it will generate overtime. Only if creates an operational hardship.(after all paying OT to cover someones comp is a breakeven for the employer)

    Our employer only allows comp to be used if a slot is open after vacations, kelly days, personal days.

  11. #11
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    We get OT for all hours worked over the standard 10/14 shift.
    In the matter of specialized training, seminars... you go to the class instead of working your shifts.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    As a non-firefighter federal employee my OT rate would have put me up against the max legal pay, so I couldn't even get full time and a half. So I took comp. The feds limit your comp carryover to six months. If you haven't used it by then, you get the OT instead. Our managers usually helped us keep track of the aging, since individual organizations are usually budget constrained...
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbsb11 View Post
    Id like to bump this discussion to ask how other departments allow you to use your comp time.

    FLSA states the employer cannot deny comp time use simply because it will generate overtime. Only if creates an operational hardship.(after all paying OT to cover someones comp is a breakeven for the employer)
    Here, comp time taken is only denied when the request creates OT or at the shift officers discretion when less than 24 hours notice is given. I've only denied comp time under the 24 hr rule in cases where a firefighter has habitually abused it with multiple last minute requests.

    IIRC there was some to-do about not being denied comp time per FLSA and the employer (maybe an SO in AZ?) instead started scheduling the comp time for the employees? Anyone else remember this, about 6-7 years ago? I know auditors hate comp time as it's unfunded hours awaiting payout.

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    MembersZone Subscriber UTFFEMT's Avatar
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    Post OT verses Comp time.

    Like you guys, we are similar, our Comp time rate is 1 1/2 X 1 1/4 . Some training we can choose OT or Comp and sometimes they tell us it will be Comp.
    Our Admin people do not get Comp time as it is built in thier salaires and can come and go at will for the most part.
    We also have about the 400 hour limit and are generally forced to use it annually so the City does not have to pay us for it. It is a rare situation that someone does not use the time. In fact if one has time on the books. our payroll people have been instructed to use that first instead of vacation time to ensure that the Comp is used first.
    ON a similar subject, we also get what we call Holiday checks once ayear and this is for the City Holidays we work ie: X-mas New years etc. It does not matter if you are actually on shift or not they average out the time and give everyone a check that comes out to a good check for the Holidays.
    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

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    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
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    Our shift personnel can accrue a maximum of 400 hours of comp time. The restrictions on using it are that they can only be taken after vacation and kelly days have been scheduled. The city will also not let you take more than 3 comp days in a row. That rule came about years ago because of some dumb-*ss department head that accrued something like 1500 hours of comp time (exempt people don't have a limit because the city is under no obligation to cash you out when you leave) and then proceeded to disappear for about 3 months. But there's still a way around that rule. People will just take 3 comp days followed with a vacation day, then another 3 comp days followed by a vacation day, etc.

    From an administrative standpoint, the two things I don't like about our comp time is that people can take it whenever they want (if there's an opening) without any minimum notice, and that they can also take it in minimum amounts of 15 minutes. So that means if I have a big public event I'm trying to schedule coverage for and I notice that the shift is "full," it still doesn't mean anything because two guys could decide to take comp time 30 minutes before the shift starts. You can likewise be halfway through the shift and a guy might say, "I'm out of here for the rest of the day because there's a slot open." Great from the firefighter perspective, but it plays hell for the white shirts trying to schedule or anticipate anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roykirk1989 View Post
    From an administrative standpoint, the two things I don't like about our comp time is that people can take it whenever they want (if there's an opening) without any minimum notice, and that they can also take it in minimum amounts of 15 minutes. So that means if I have a big public event I'm trying to schedule coverage for and I notice that the shift is "full," it still doesn't mean anything because two guys could decide to take comp time 30 minutes before the shift starts. You can likewise be halfway through the shift and a guy might say, "I'm out of here for the rest of the day because there's a slot open." Great from the firefighter perspective, but it plays hell for the white shirts trying to schedule or anticipate anything.
    This is why we have a 24 hr rule. I'd think the admin would be going nuts dealing with this and the members would be able to see that hurting shift strength with little to no notice makes for poor planning. In this economy I'd want as much stability in shift numbers as possible.

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    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    This is why we have a 24 hr rule. I'd think the admin would be going nuts dealing with this and the members would be able to see that hurting shift strength with little to no notice makes for poor planning. In this economy I'd want as much stability in shift numbers as possible.
    Agreed. Unfortunately it's guaranteed by a long standing provision in the union contract.

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    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roykirk1989 View Post
    I'm curious how many of the career firefighters here are able to accrue comp time? I've been led to believe that the system my department has is pretty rare.
    We don't get comp time; it's overtime at time and one-half for every hour outside of our regular shifts (42 hour nominal work week).

    FWIW, FLSA limits compensatory time so, presumably, any accumulation would be limited to fit the FLSA requirements. I don't have a copy in front of me but, if memory serves, compensatory time is supposed to be paid back within six weeks or something of that nature to satisfy the maximum allowable work week limits.

    I'd read over FLSA, if I were you.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Forum Member johnny46's Avatar
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    OT. Anything else is asinine. And probably illegal. Line officers don't fall under the management gets screwed by the company scheme.
    Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    OT. Anything else is asinine. And probably illegal. Line officers don't fall under the management gets screwed by the company scheme.
    It's certainly arguable whether it's a good thing or not, but it's definitely legal, and specifically allowed for under FLSA. I think it's clear, however, that many departments don't follow the FLSA regulations.

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