CSU Policy: Compensatory Time Off

Policy Title: Compensatory Time Off Category: Human Resources
Owner: Vice President for University Operations Policy ID#: 3-6004-033
Human Resources
Web: https://hr.colostate.edu/
Email: hr_service_center@mail.colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-6947
Original Effective Date: 3/16/2015
Last Revision: 12/6/2019
Print Version: Click Here to Print


The purpose of this policy is to ensure consistent practices earning, using, and payment of compensatory time, and adherence to the Fair Labor Standards Act.


This policy applies to all non-exempt State Classified and Administrative Professional positions (both salaried and hourly). Employees in non-benefits eligible classifications (non-student hourly and student hourly) are not eligible for compensatory time and must be paid for all hours worked, including payment for hours beyond 40 in a given workweek at one and one-half the hourly rate.


Compensatory time is a form of overtime payment and any employee in a position designated as exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act is therefore not subject to the terms of this policy.


Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – the federal statutes (29 U.S. Code § 201, et seq.) and regulations (see 29 CFR § 553.25) that govern specific employee compensation requirements, including overtime pay and minimum wage. The FLSA allows public employers to utilize time off (compensatory time) in lieu of cash payment for overtime.

Exempt Employee – an individual working in a position that meets exemption criteria of the FLSA and is not subject to the overtime and/or minimum wage requirements.

Non-exempt Employee – an individual working in a position that is subject to the overtime and minimum wage requirements of the FLSA.

Overtime – Any hours worked by a non-exempt employee beyond 40 in an established work week are considered overtime and are compensated at one and one-half times the normal rate.

Established Work Week – An established work week is any regularly recurring period of 168 hours - seven consecutive 24-hour periods - designated as a period of work for an employee. The established work week for University departments shall be 168 consecutive hours beginning 12:01 a.m. each Saturday.


Compensatory time refers to compensation, granted as future time off with pay, for instances when a non-exempt employee works beyond 40 hours (overtime) in an established work week. Supervisors may allow non-exempt employees to earn compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay in accordance with the provisions of this policy and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Compensatory time is earned at one and one-half times the overtime hours worked.


  1. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring compliance with mandated provisions of the FLSA and should ensure an eligible employee is compensated for overtime hours. Non-exempt employees may be granted compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay and is granted at the rate of one and one-half times the number of overtime hours.
  2. Whether compensation for overtime is made by payroll payment or by compensatory time is at the discretion of the employing department.
  3. A non-exempt employee may accumulate up to 160 hours of overtime equating to 240 hours of compensatory time at any given point in time. (Law enforcement employees may accumulate up to 320 hours of overtime or 480 hours of compensatory time.) Any overtime worked in excess of this amount must be paid via payroll at the next regular pay period. Individual departments may establish lower compensatory time thresholds but cannot exceed the 240-hour limit (480 for law enforcement employees).
  4. Accumulated compensatory time should be scheduled and taken as soon as practical. Whenever possible, the scheduling of compensatory time should be by mutual agreement between the employee and supervisor.
  5. Compensatory time is not included as hours worked for overtime calculation purposes.
  6. Upon hire, an agreement to accept compensatory time off in lieu of cash payment for overtime is a condition of employment.
  7. If an employee with accumulated compensatory time vacates his or her position (whether leaving CSU employment, moving into a different department at the University or transitioning into an exempt position), the compensatory time must receive monetary payment at the next regular pay period by the department where the overtime was worked.


Supervisors are responsible for ensuring compliance with overtime provisions for non-exempt employees, including tracking and scheduling compensatory time.

The Human Resources Department is responsible for designating positions as exempt or non-exempt.

Wage and hour records are subject to audit/review by the US and/or Colorado Department of Labor.


Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance – US Department of Labor

Human Resource Manual – Section 1: General Provisions, p.13


Compensatory Time Agreement


Approved by Amy L. Parsons, Vice President for University Operations, on March 16, 2015

Revision approved by Lynn Johnson, Vice President for University Operations, on December 6, 2019


Print Version: Click Here to Print

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