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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 26, 2020

Title 29Subtitle BChapter VSubchapter APart 553 → Subpart A


Title 29: Labor
PART 553—APPLICATION OF THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT TO EMPLOYEES OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS


Subpart A—General


Contents

Introduction

§553.1   Definitions.
§553.2   Purpose and scope.
§553.3   Coverage—general.

Section 3(e)(2)(C)—Exclusions

§553.10   General.
§553.11   Exclusion for elected officials and their appointees.
§553.12   Exclusion for employees of legislative branches.

Section 7(o)—Compensatory Time and Compensatory Time Off

§553.20   Introduction.
§553.21   Statutory provisions.
§553.22   “FLSA compensatory time” and “FLSA compensatory time off”.
§553.23   Agreement or understanding prior to performance of work.
§553.24   “Public safety”, “emergency response”, and “seasonal” activities.
§553.25   Conditions for use of compensatory time (“reasonable period”, “unduly disrupt”).
§553.26   Cash overtime payments.
§553.27   Payments for unused compensatory time.
§553.28   Other compensatory time.

Other Exemptions

§553.30   Occasional or sporadic employment-section 7(p)(2).
§553.31   Substitution—section 7(p)(3).
§553.32   Other FLSA exemptions.

Recordkeeping

§553.50   Records to be kept of compensatory time.
§553.51   Records to be kept for employees paid pursuant to section 7(k).

Introduction

§553.1   Definitions.

(a) Act or FLSA means the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended (52 Stat. 1060, as amended; 29 U.S.C. 201-219).

(b) 1985 Amendments means the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1985 (Pub. L. 99-150).

(c) Public agency means a State, a political subdivision of a State or an interstate governmental agency.

(d) State means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or any other Territory or possession of the United States (29 U.S.C. 203(c) and 213(f)).

§553.2   Purpose and scope.

(a) The 1985 Amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) changed certain provisions of the Act as they apply to employees of State and local public agencies. The purpose of part 553 is to set forth the regulations to carry out the provisions of these Amendments, as well as other FLSA provisions previously in existence relating to such public agency employees.

(b) The regulations in this part are divided into three subparts. Subpart A interprets and applies the special FLSA provisions that are generally applicable to all covered and nonexempt employees of State and local governments. Subpart A also contains provisions concerning certain individuals (i.e., elected officials, their appointees, and legislative branch employees) who are excluded from the definition of “employee” and thus from FLSA coverage. This subpart also interprets and applies sections 7(o), and 7(p)(2), 7(p)(3), and 11(c) of the Act regarding compensatory time off, occasional or sporadic part-time employment, and the performance of substitute work by public agency employees, respectively.

(c) Subpart B of this part deals with “volunteer” services performed by individuals for public agencies. Subpart C applies various FLSA provisions as they relate to fire protection and law enforcement employees of public agencies.

§553.3   Coverage—general.

(a)(1) In 1966, Congress amended the FLSA to extend coverage to State and local government employees engaged in the operation of hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and mass transit systems.

(2) In 1972, the Education Amendments further extended coverage to employees of public preschools.

(3) In 1974, the FLSA Amendments extended coverage to virtually all of the remaining State and local government employees who were not covered as a result of the 1966 and 1972 legislation.

(b) Certain definitions already in the Act were modified by the 1974 Amendments. The definition of the term “employer” was changed to include public agencies and that of “employee” was amended to include individuals employed by public agencies. The definition of “enterprise” contained in section 3(r) of the Act was modified to provide that activities of a public agency are performed for a “business purpose.” The term “enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce” defined in section 3(s) of the Act was expanded to include public agencies.

Section 3(e)(2)(C)—Exclusions

§553.10   General.

Section 3(e)(2)(C) of the Act excludes from the definition of “employee”, and thus from coverage, certain individuals employed by public agencies. This exclusion applies to elected public officials, their immediate advisors, and certain individuals whom they appoint or select to serve in various capacities. In addition, the 1985 Amendments exclude employees of legislative branches of State and local governments. A condition for exclusion is that the employee must not be subject to the civil service laws of the employing State or local agency.

§553.11   Exclusion for elected officials and their appointees.

(a) Section 3(e)(2)(C) provides an exclusion from the Act's coverage for officials elected by the voters of their jurisdictions. Also excluded under this provision are personal staff members and officials in policymaking positions who are selected or appointed by the elected public officials and certain advisers to such officials.

(b) The statutory term “member of personal staff” generally includes only persons who are under the direct supervision of the selecting elected official and have regular contact with such official. The term typically does not include individuals who are directly supervised by someone other than the elected official even though they may have been selected by the official. For example, the term might include the elected official's personal secretary, but would not include the secretary to an assistant.

(c) In order to qualify as personal staff members or officials in policymaking positions, the individuals in question must not be subject to the civil service laws of their employing agencies. The term “civil service laws” refers to a personnel system established by law which is designed to protect employees from arbitrary action, personal favoritism, and political coercion, and which uses a competitive or merit examination process for selection and placement. Continued tenure of employment of employees under civil service, except for cause, is provided. In addition, such personal staff members must be appointed by, and serve solely at the pleasure or discretion of, the elected official.

(d) The exclusion for “immediate adviser” to elected officials is limited to staff who serve as advisers on constitutional or legal matters, and who are not subject to the civil service rules of their employing agency.

§553.12   Exclusion for employees of legislative branches.

(a) Section 3(e)(2)(C) of the Act provides an exclusion from the definition of the term “employee” for individuals who are not subject to the civil service laws of their employing agencies and are employed by legislative branches or bodies of States, their political subdivisions or interstate governmental agencies.

(b) Employees of State or local legislative libraries do not come within this statutory exclusion. Also, employees of school boards, other than elected officials and their appointees (as discussed in §553.11), do not come within this exclusion.

Section 7(o)—Compensatory Time and Compensatory Time Off

§553.20   Introduction.

Section 7 of the FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees receive not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for hours worked in excess of the applicable maximum hours standards. However, section 7(o) of the Act provides an element of flexibility to State and local government employers and an element of choice to their employees or the representatives of their employees regarding compensation for statutory overtime hours. The exemption provided by this subsection authorizes a public agency which is a State, a political subdivision of a State, or an interstate governmental agency, to provide compensatory time off (with certain limitations, as provided in §553.21) in lieu of monetary overtime compensation that would otherwise be required under section 7. Compensatory time received by an employee in lieu of cash must be at the rate of not less than one and one-half hours of compensatory time for each hour of overtime work, just as the monetary rate for overtime is calculated at the rate of not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.

§553.21   Statutory provisions.

Section 7(o) provides as follows:

(o)(1) Employees of a public agency which is a State, a political subdivision of a State, or an interstate governmental agency may receive, in accordance with this subsection and in lieu of overtime compensation, compensatory time off at a rate not less than one and one-half hours for each hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required by this section.

(2) A public agency may provide compensatory time under paragraph (1) only—

(A) Pursuant to—

(i) Applicable provisions of a collective bargaining agreement, memorandum of understanding, or any other agreement between the public agency and representatives of such employees; or

(ii) In the case of employees not covered by subclause (i), an agreement or understanding arrived at between the employer and employee before the performance of the work; and

(B) If the employee has not accrued compensatory time in excess of the limit applicable to the employee prescribed by paragraph (3).

In the case of employees described in clause (A)(ii) hired prior to April 15, 1986, the regular practice in effect on April 15, 1986, with respect to compensatory time off for such employees in lieu of the receipt of overtime compensation, shall constitute an agreement or understanding under such clause (A)(ii). Except as provided in the previous sentence, the provision of compensatory time off to such employees for hours worked after April 14, 1986, shall be in accordance with this subsection.

(3)(A) If the work of an employee for which compensatory time may be provided included work in a public safety activity, an emergency response activity, or a seasonal activity, the employee engaged in such work may accrue not more than 480 hours of compensatory time for hours worked after April 15, 1986. If such work was any other work, the employee engaged in such work may accrue not more than 240 hours of compensatory time for hours worked after April 15, 1986. Any such employee who, after April 15, 1986, has accrued 480 or 240 hours, as the case may be, of compensatory time off shall, for additional overtime hours of work, be paid overtime compensation.

(B) If compensation is paid to an employee for accrued compensatory time off, such compensation shall be paid at the regular rate earned by the employee at the time the employee receives such payment.

(4) An employee who has accrued compensatory time off authorized to be provided under paragraph (1) shall, upon termination of employment, be paid for the unused compensatory time at a rate of compensation not less than—

(A) The average regular rate received by such employee during the last 3 years of the employee's employment, or

(B) The final regular rate received by such employee, whichever is higher.

(5) An employee of a public agency which is a State, political subdivision of a State, or an interstate governmental agency—

(A) Who has accrued compensatory time off authorized to be provided under paragraph (1), and

(B) Who has requested the use of such compensatory time, shall be permitted by the employee's employer to use such time within a reasonable period after making the request if the use of the compensatory time does not unduly disrupt the operations of the public agency.

(6) For purposes of this subsection—

(A) The term overtime compensation means the compensation required by subsection (a), and

(B) The terms compensatory time and compensatory time off means hours during which an employee is not working, which are not counted as hours worked during the applicable workweek or other work period for purposes of overtime compensation, and for which the employee is compensated at the employee's regular rate.

[52 FR 2032, Jan. 16, 1987; 52 FR 2648, Jan. 23, 1987]

§553.22   “FLSA compensatory time” and “FLSA compensatory time off”.

(a) Compensatory time and compensatory time off are interchangeable terms under the FLSA. Compensatory time off is paid time off the job which is earned and accrued by an employee in lieu of immediate cash payment for employment in excess of the statutory hours for which overtime compensation is required by section 7 of the FLSA.

(b) The Act requires that compensatory time under section 7(o) be earned at a rate not less than one and one-half hours for each hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required by section 7 of the FLSA. Thus, the 480-hour limit on accrued compensatory time represents not more than 320 hours of actual overtime worked, and the 240-hour limit represents not more than 160 hours of actual overtime worked.

(c) The 480- and 240-hour limits on accrued compensatory time only apply to overtime hours worked after April 15, 1986. Compensatory time which an employee has accrued prior to April 15, 1986, is not subject to the overtime requirements of the FLSA and need not be aggregated with compensatory time accrued after that date.

§553.23   Agreement or understanding prior to performance of work.

(a) General. (1) As a condition for use of compensatory time in lieu of overtime payment in cash, section 7(o)(2)(A) of the Act requires an agreement or understanding reached prior to the performance of work. This can be accomplished pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, a memorandum of understanding or any other agreement between the public agency and representatives of the employees. If the employees do not have a representative, compensatory time may be used in lieu of cash overtime compensation only if such an agreement or understanding has been arrived at between the public agency and the individual employee before the performance of work. No agreement or understanding is required with respect to employees hired prior to April 15, 1986, who do not have a representative, if the employer had a regular practice in effect on April 15, 1986, of granting compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.

(2) Agreements or understandings may provide that compensatory time off in lieu of overtime payment in cash may be restricted to certain hours of work only. In addition, agreements or understandings may provide for any combination of compensatory time off and overtime payment in cash (e.g., one hour compensatory time credit plus one-half the employee's regular hourly rate of pay in cash for each hour of overtime worked) so long as the premium pay principle of at least “time and one-half” is maintained. The agreement or understanding may include other provisions governing the preservation, use, or cashing out of compensatory time so long as these provisions are consistent with section 7(o) of the Act. To the extent that any provision of an agreement or understanding is in violation of section 7(o) of the Act, the provision is superseded by the requirements of section 7(o).

(b) Agreement or understanding between the public agency and a representative of the employees. (1) Where employees have a representative, the agreement or understanding concerning the use of compensatory time must be between the representative and the public agency either through a collective bargaining agreement or through a memorandum of understanding or other type of oral or written agreement. In the absence of a collective bargaining agreement applicable to the employees, the representative need not be a formal or recognized bargaining agent as long as the representative is designated by the employees. Any agreement must be consistent with the provisions of section 7(o) of the Act.

(2) Section 2(b) of the 1985 Amendments provides that a collective bargaining agreement in effect on April 15, 1986, which permits compensatory time off in lieu of overtime compensation, will remain in effect until the expiration date of the collective bargaining agreement unless otherwise modified. However, the terms and conditions of such agreement under which compensatory time off is provided after April 14, 1986, must not violate the requirements of section 7(o) of the Act and these regulations.

(c) Agreement or understanding between the public agency and individual employees. (1) Where employees of a public agency do not have a recognized or otherwise designated representative, the agreement or understanding concerning compensatory time off must be between the public agency and the individual employee and must be reached prior to the performance of work. This agreement or understanding with individual employees need not be in writing, but a record of its existence must be kept. (See §553.50.) An employer need not adopt the same agreement or understanding with different employees and need not provide compensatory time to all employees. The agreement or understanding to provide compensatory time off in lieu of cash overtime compensation may take the form of an express condition of employment, provided (i) the employee knowingly and voluntarily agrees to it as a condition of employment and (ii) the employee is informed that the compensatory time received may be preserved, used or cashed out consistent with the provisions of section 7(o) of the Act. An agreement or understanding may be evidenced by a notice to the employee that compensatory time off will be given in lieu of overtime pay. In such a case, an agreement or understanding would be presumed to exist for purposes of section 7(o) with respect to any employee who fails to express to the employer an unwillingness to accept compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay. However, the employee's decision to accept compensatory time off in lieu of cash overtime payments must be made freely and without coercion or pressure.

(2) Section 2(a) of the 1985 Amendments provides that in the case of employees who have no representative and were employed prior to April 15, 1986, a public agency that has had a regular practice of awarding compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay is deemed to have reached an agreement or understanding with these employees as of April 15, 1986. A public agency need not secure an agreement or understanding with each employee employed prior to that date. If, however, such a regular practice does not conform to the provisions of section 7(o) of the Act, it must be modified to do so with regard to practices after April 14, 1986. With respect to employees hired after April 14, 1986, the public employer who elects to use compensatory time must follow the guidelines on agreements discussed in paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

[52 FR 2032, Jan. 16, 1987; 52 FR 2648, Jan. 23, 1987]

§553.24   “Public safety”, “emergency response”, and “seasonal” activities.

(a) Section 7(o)(3)(A) of the FLSA provides that an employee of a public agency which is a State, a political subdivision of a State, or an interstate governmental agency, may accumulate not more than 480 hours of compensatory time for FLSA overtime hours which are worked after April 15, 1986, if the employee is engaged in “public safety”, “emergency response”, or “seasonal” activity. Employees whose work includes “seasonal”, “emergency response”, or “public safety” activities, as well as other work, will not be subject to both limits of accrual for compensatory time. If the employee's work regularly involves the activities included in the 480-hour limit, the employee will be covered by that limit. A public agency cannot utilize the higher cap by simple classification or designation of an employee. The work performed is controlling. Assignment of occasional duties within the scope of the higher cap will not entitle the employer to use the higher cap. Employees whose work does not regularly involve “seasonal”, “emergency response”, or “public safety” activities are subject to a 240-hour compensatory time accrual limit for FLSA overtime hours which are worked after April 15, 1986.

(b) Employees engaged in “public safety”, “emergency response”, or “seasonal” activities, who transfer to positions subject to the 240-hour limit, may carry over to the new position any accrued compensatory time. The employer will not be required to cash out the accrued compensatory time which is in excess of the lower limit. However, the employee must be compensated in cash wages for any subsequent overtime hours worked until the number of accrued hours of compensatory time falls below the 240-hour limit.

(c) “Public safety activities”: The term “public safety activities” as used in section 7(o)(3)(A) of the Act includes law enforcement, fire fighting or related activities as described in §§553.210 (a) and (b) and 553.211 (a)-(c), and (f). An employee whose work regularly involves such activities will qualify for the 480-hour accrual limit. However, the 480-hour accrual limit will not apply to office personnel or other civilian employees who may perform public safety activities only in emergency situations, even if they spend substantially all of their time in a particular week in such activities. For example, a maintenance worker employed by a public agency who is called upon to perform fire fighting activities during an emergency would remain subject to the 240-hour limit, even if such employee spent an entire week or several weeks in a year performing public safety activities. Certain employees who work in “public safety” activities for purposes of section 7(o)(3)(A) may qualify for the partial overtime exemption in section 7(k) of the Act. (See §553.201)

(d) “Emergency response activity”: The term “emergency response activity” as used in section 7(o)(3)(A) of the Act includes dispatching of emergency vehicles and personnel, rescue work and ambulance services. As is the case with “public safety” and “seasonal” activities, an employee must regularly engage in “emergency response” activities to be covered under the 480-hour limit. A city office worker who may be called upon to perform rescue work in the event of a flood or snowstorm would not be covered under the higher limit, since such emergency response activities are not a regular part of the employee's job. Certain employees who work in “emergency response” activities for purposes of section 7(o)(3)(A) may qualify for the partial overtime exemption in section 7(k) of the Act. (See §553.215.)

(e)(1) “Seasonal activity”: The term “seasonal activity” includes work during periods of significantly increased demand, which are of a regular and recurring nature. In determining whether employees are considered engaged in a seasonal activity, the first consideration is whether the activity in which they are engaged is a regular and recurring aspect of the employee's work. The second consideration is whether the projected overtime hours during the period of significantly increased demand are likely to result in the accumulation during such period of more than 240 compensatory time hours (the number available under the lower cap). Such projections will normally be based on the employer's past experience with similar employment situations.

(2) Seasonal activity is not limited strictly to those operations that are very susceptible to changes in the weather. As an example, employees processing tax returns over an extended period of significantly increased demand whose overtime hours could be expected to result in the accumulation during such period of more than 240 compensatory time hours will typically qualify as engaged in a seasonal activity.

(3) While parks and recreation activity is primarily seasonal because peak demand is generally experienced in fair weather, mere periods of short but intense activity do not make an employee's job seasonal. For example, clerical employees working increased hours for several weeks on a special project or assigned to an afternoon of shoveling snow off the courthouse steps would not be considered engaged in seasonal activities, since the increased activity would not result in the accumulation during such period of more than 240 compensatory time hours. Further, persons employed in municipal auditoriums, theaters, and sports facilities that are open for specific, limited seasons would be considered engaged in seasonal activities, while those employed in facilities that operate year round generally would not.

(4) Road crews, while not necessarily seasonal workers, may have significant periods of peak demand, for instance during the snow plowing season or road construction season. The snow plow operator/road crew employee may be able to accrue compensatory time to the higher cap, while other employees of the same department who do not have lengthy periods of peak seasonal demand would remain under the lower cap.

[52 FR 2032, Jan. 16, 1987; 52 FR 2648, Jan. 23, 1987]

§553.25   Conditions for use of compensatory time (“reasonable period”, “unduly disrupt”).

(a) Section 7(o)(5) of the FLSA provides that any employee of a public agency who has accrued compensatory time and requested use of this compensatory time, shall be permitted to use such time off within a “reasonable period” after making the request, if such use does not “unduly disrupt” the operations of the agency. This provision, however, does not apply to “other compensatory time” (as defined below in §553.28), including compensatory time accrued for overtime worked prior to April 15, 1986.

(b) Compensatory time cannot be used as a means to avoid statutory overtime compensation. An employee has the right to use compensatory time earned and must not be coerced to accept more compensatory time than an employer can realistically and in good faith expect to be able to grant within a reasonable period of his or her making a request for use of such time.

(c) Reasonable period. (1) Whether a request to use compensatory time has been granted within a “reasonable period” will be determined by considering the customary work practices within the agency based on the facts and circumstances in each case. Such practices include, but are not limited to (a) the normal schedule of work, (b) anticipated peak workloads based on past experience, (c) emergency requirements for staff and services, and (d) the availability of qualified substitute staff.

(2) The use of compensatory time in lieu of cash payment for overtime must be pursuant to some form of agreement or understanding between the employer and the employee (or the representative of the employee) reached prior to the performance of the work. (See §553.23.) To the extent that the (conditions under which an employee can take compensatory time off are contained in an agreement or understanding as defined in §553.23, the terms of such agreement or understanding will govern the meaning of “reasonable period”.

(d) Unduly disrupt. When an employer receives a request for compensatory time off, it shall be honored unless to do so would be “unduly disruptive” to the agency's operations. Mere inconvenience to the employer is an insufficient basis for denial of a request for compensatory time off. (See H. Rep. 99-331, p. 23.) For an agency to turn down a request from an employee for compensatory time off requires that it should reasonably and in good faith anticipate that it would impose an unreasonable burden on the agency's ability to provide services of acceptable quality and quantity for the public during the time requested without the use of the employee's services.

[52 FR 2032, Jan. 16, 1987; 52 FR 2648, Jan. 23, 1987]

§553.26   Cash overtime payments.

(a) Overtime compensation due under section 7 may be paid in cash at the employer's option, in lieu of providing compensatory time off under section 7(o) of the Act in any workweek or work period. The FLSA does not prohibit an employer from freely substituting cash, in whole or part, for compensatory time off; and overtime payment in cash would not affect subsequent granting of compensatory time off in future workweeks or work periods. (See §553.23(a)(2).)

(b) The principles for computing cash overtime pay are contained in 29 CFR part 778. Cash overtime compensation must be paid at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which the employee is actually paid. (See 29 CFR 778.107.)

(c) In a workweek or work period during which an employee works hours which are overtime hours under FLSA and for which cash overtime payment will be made, and the employee also takes compensatory time off, the payment for such time off may be excluded from the regular rate of pay under section 7(e)(2) of the Act. Section 7(e)(2) provides that the regular rate shall not be deemed to include

.  .  .  payments made for occasional periods when no work is performed due to vacation, holiday, .  .  . or other similar cause.

As explained in 29 CFR 778.218(d), the term “other similar cause” refers to payments made for periods of absence due to factors like holidays, vacations, illness, and so forth. Payments made to an employee for periods of absence due to the use of accrued compensatory time are considered to be the type of payments in this “other similar cause” category.

§553.27   Payments for unused compensatory time.

(a) Payments for accrued compensatory time earned after April 14, 1986, may be made at any time and shall be paid at the regular rate earned by the employee at the time the employee receives such payment.

(b) Upon termination of employment, an employee shall be paid for unused compensatory time earned after April 14, 1986, at a rate of compensation not less than—

(1) The average regular rate received by such employee during the last 3 years of the employee's employment, or

(2) The final regular rate received by such employee, whichever is higher.

(c) The phrase last 3 years of employment means the 3-year period immediately prior to termination. Where an employee's last 3 years of employment are not continuous because of a break in service, the period of employment after the break in service will be treated as new employment. However, such a break in service must have been intended to be permanent and any accrued compensatory time earned after April 14, 1986, must have been cashed out at the time of initial separation. Where the final period of employment is less than 3 years, the average rate still must be calculated based on the rate(s) in effect during such period.

(d) The term “regular rate” is defined in 29 CFR 778.108. As indicated in §778.109, the regular rate is an hourly rate, although the FLSA does not require employers to compensate employees on an hourly basis.

[52 FR 2032, Jan. 16, 1987; 52 FR 2648, Jan. 23, 1987]

§553.28   Other compensatory time.

(a) Compensatory time which is earned and accrued by an employee for employment in excess of a nonstatutory (that is, non-FLSA) requirement is considered “other” compensatory time. The term “other” compensatory time off means hours during which an employee is not working and which are not counted as hours worked during the period when used. For example, a collective bargaining agreement may provide that compensatory time be granted to employees for hours worked in excess of 8 in a day, or for working on a scheduled day off in a nonovertime workweek. The FLSA does not require compensatory time to be granted in such situations.

(b) Compensatory time which is earned and accrued by an employee working hours which are “overtime” hours under State or local law, ordinance, or other provisions, but which are not overtime hours under section 7 of the FLSA is also considered “other” compensatory time. For example, a local law or ordinance may provide that compensatory time be granted to employees for hours worked in excess of 35 in a workweek. Under section 7(a) of the FLSA, only hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek are overtime hours which must be compensated at one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.

(c) Similarly, compensatory time earned or accrued by an employee for employment in excess of a standard established by the personnel policy or practice of an employer, or by custom, which does not result from the FLSA provision, is another example of “other” compensatory time.

(d) The FLSA does not require that the rate at which “other” compensatory time is earned has to be at a rate of one and one-half hours for each hour of employment. The rate at which “other” compensatory time is earned may be some lesser or greater multiple of the rate or the straight-time rate itself.

(e) The requirements of section 7(o) of the FLSA, including the limitations on accrued compensatory time, do not apply to “other” compensatory time as described above.

Other Exemptions

§553.30   Occasional or sporadic employment-section 7(p)(2).

(a) Section 7(p)(2) of the FLSA provides that where State or local government employees, solely at their option, work occasionally or sporadically on a part-time basis for the same public agency in a different capacity from their regular employment, the hours worked in the different jobs shall not be combined for the purpose of determining overtime liability under the Act.

(b) Occasional or sporadic. (1) The term occasional or sporadic means infrequent, irregular, or occurring in scattered instances. There may be an occasional need for additional resources in the delivery of certain types of public services which is at times best met by the part-time employment of an individual who is already a public employee. Where employees freely and solely at their own option enter into such activity, the total hours worked will not be combined for purposes of determining any overtime compensation due on the regular, primary job. However, in order to prevent overtime abuse, such hours worked are to be excluded from computing overtime compensation due only where the occasional or sporadic assignments are not within the same general occupational category as the employee's regular work.

(2) In order for an employee's occasional or sporadic work on a part-time basis to qualify for exemption under section 7(p)(2), the employee's decision to work in a different capacity must be made freely and without coercion, implicit or explicit, by the employer. An employer may suggest that an employee undertake another kind of work for the same unit of government when the need for assistance arises, but the employee must be free to refuse to perform such work without sanction and without being required to explain or justify the decision.

(3) Typically, public recreation and park facilities, and stadiums or auditoriums utilize employees in occasional or sporadic work. Some of these employment activities are the taking of tickets, providing security for special events (e.g., concerts, sports events, and lectures), officiating at youth or other recreation and sports events, or engaging in food or beverage sales at special events, such as a county fair. Employment in such activity may be considered occasional or sporadic for regular employees of State or local government agencies even where the need can be anticipated because it recurs seasonally (e.g., a holiday concert at a city college, a program of scheduled sports events, or assistance by a city payroll clerk in processing returns at tax filing time). An activity does not fail to be occasional merely because it is recurring. In contrast, for example, if a parks department clerk, in addition to his or her regular job, also regularly works additional hours on a part-time basis (e.g., every week or every other week) at a public park food and beverage sales center operated by that agency, the additional work does not constitute intermittent and irregular employment and, therefore, the hours worked would be combined in computing any overtime compensation due.

(c) Different capacity. (1) In order for employment in these occasional or sporadic activities not to be considered subject to the overtime requirements of section 7 of the FLSA, the regular government employment of the individual performing them must also be in a different capacity, i.e., it must not fall within the same general occupational category.

(2) In general, the Administrator will consider the duties and other factors contained in the definitions of the 3-digit categories of occupations in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (except in the case of public safety employees as discussed below in section (3)), as well as all the facts and circumstances in a particular case, in determining whether employment in a second capacity is substantially different from the regular employment.

(3) For example, if a public park employee primarily engaged in playground maintenance also from time to time cleans an evening recreation center operated by the same agency, the additional work would be considered hours worked for the same employer and subject to the Act's overtime requirements because it is not in a different capacity. This would be the case even though the work was occasional or sporadic, and, was not regularly scheduled. Public safety employees taking on any kind of security or safety function within the same local government are never considered to be employed in a different capacity.

(4) However, if a bookkeeper for a municipal park agency or a city mail clerk occasionally referees for an adult evening basketball league sponsored by the city, the hours worked as a referee would be considered to be in a different general occupational category than the primary employment and would not be counted as hours worked for overtime purposes on the regular job. A person regularly employed as a bus driver may assist in crowd control, for example, at an event such as a winter festival, and in doing so, would be deemed to be serving in a different capacity.

(5) In addition, any activity traditionally associated with teaching (e.g., coaching, career counseling, etc.) will not be considered as employment in a different capacity. However, where personnel other than teachers engage in such teaching-related activities, the work will be viewed as employment in a different capacity, provided that these activities are performed on an occasional or sporadic basis and all other requirements for this provision are met. For example, a school secretary could substitute as a coach for a basketball team or a maintenance engineer could provide instruction on auto repair on an occasional or sporadic basis.

§553.31   Substitution—section 7(p)(3).

(a) Section 7(p)(3) of the FLSA provides that two individuals employed in any occupation by the same public agency may agree, solely at their option and with the approval of the public agency, to substitute for one another during scheduled work hours in performance of work in the same capacity. The hours worked shall be excluded by the employer in the calculation of the hours for which the substituting employee would otherwise be entitled to overtime compensation under the Act. Where one employee substitutes for another, each employee will be credited as if he or she had worked his or her normal work schedule for that shift.

(b) The provisions of section 7(p)(3) apply only if employees' decisions to substitute for one another are made freely and without coercion, direct or implied. An employer may suggest that an employee substitute or “trade time” with another employee working in the same capacity during regularly scheduled hours, but each employee must be free to refuse to perform such work without sanction and without being required to explain or justify the decision. An employee's decision to substitute will be considered to have been made at his/her sole option when it has been made (i) without fear of reprisal or promise of reward by the employer, and (ii) exclusively for the employee's own convenience.

(c) A public agency which employs individuals who substitute or “trade time” under this subsection is not required to keep a record of the hours of the substitute work.

(d) In order to qualify under section 7(p)(3), an agreement between individuals employed by a public agency to substitute for one another at their own option must be approved by the agency. This requires that the agency be aware of the arrangement prior to the work being done, i.e., the employer must know what work is being done, by whom it is being done, and where and when it is being done. Approval is manifest when the employer is aware of the substitution and indicates approval in whatever manner is customary.

§553.32   Other FLSA exemptions.

(a) There are other exemptions from the minimum wage and/or overtime requirements of the FLSA which may apply to certain employees of public agencies. The following sections provide a discussion of some of the major exemptions which may be applicable. This list is not comprehensive.

(b) Section 7(k) of the Act provides a partial overtime pay exemption for public agency employees employed in fire protection or law enforcement activities (including security personnel in correctional institutions). In addition, section 13(b)(20) provides a complete overtime pay exemption for any employee of a public agency engaged in fire protection or law enforcement activities, if the public agency employs less than five employees in such activities. (See subpart C of this part.)

(c) Section 13(a)(1) of the Act provides an exemption from both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for any employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, professional, or outside sales capacity, as these terms are defined and delimited in part 541 of this title. An employee will qualify for exemption if he or she meets all of the pertinent tests relating to duties, responsibilities, and salary.

(d) Section 7(j) of the Act provides that a hospital or residential care establishment may, pursuant to a prior agreement or understanding with an employee or employees, adopt a fixed work period of 14 consecutive days for the purpose of computing overtime pay in lieu of the regular 7-day workweek. Workers employed under section 7(j) must receive not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for all hours worked over 8 in any workday, and over 80 in the 14-day work period. (See §778.601 of this title.)

(e) Section 13(a)(3) of the Act provides a minimum wage and overtime pay exemption for any employee employed by an amusement or recreational establishment if (1) it does not operate for more than 7 months in any calendar year or (2) during the preceding calendar year, its average receipts for any 6 months of such year were not more than 3313 percent of its average receipts for the other 6 months of such year. In order to meet the requirements of section 13(a)(3)(B), the establishment in the previous year must have received at least 75 percent of its income within 6 months. The 6 months, however, need not be 6 consecutive months. State and local governments operate parks and recreational areas to which this exemption may apply.

(f) Section 13(b)(1) of the Act provides an exemption from the overtime pay requirements for “Any employee with respect to whom the Secretary of Transportation has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of section 204 of the Motor Carrier Act, 1935.” (recodified at section 3102, 49 U.S.C.). With regard to State or local governments, this overtime pay exemption may affect mass transit systems engaged in interstate commerce. This exemption is applicable to drivers, driver's helpers, loaders, and mechanics employed by a common carrier whose activities directly affect the safety of operation of motor vehicles in the transportation on the public highways of passengers or property. (See part 782 of this title.)

(g) Section 7(n) of the Act provides that, for the purpose of computing overtime pay, the hours of employment of a mass transit employee do not include the time spent in charter activities if (1) pursuant to a prior agreement the time is not to be so counted, and (2) such charter activities are not a part of the employee's regular employment.

(h) Additional overtime pay exemptions which may apply to emloyees of public agencies are contained in sections 13(b)(2) (employees of certain common carriers by rail), 13(b)(9) (certain employees of small market radio and television stations), and section 13(b)(12) (employees in agriculture) of the Act. Further, section 13(a)(6) of the Act provides a minimum wage and overtime pay exemption for agricultural employees who work on small farms. (See part 780 of this title.)

Recordkeeping

§553.50   Records to be kept of compensatory time.

For each employee subject to the compensatory time and compensatory time off provisions of section 7(o) of the Act, a public agency which is a State, a political subdivision of a State or an interstate governmental agency shall maintain and preserve records containing the basic information and data required by §516.2 of this title and, in addition:

(a) The number of hours of compensatory time earned pursuant to section 7(o) each workweek, or other applicable work period, by each employee at the rate of one and one-half hour for each overtime hour worked;

(b) The number of hours of such compensatory time used each workweek, or other applicable work period, by each employee;

(c) The number of hours of compensatory time compensated in cash, the total amount paid and the date of such payment; and

(d) Any collective bargaining agreement or written understanding or agreement with respect to earning and using compensatory time off. If such agreement or understanding is not in writing, a record of its existence must be kept.

§553.51   Records to be kept for employees paid pursuant to section 7(k).

For each employee subject to the partial overtime exemption in section 7(k) of the Act, a public agency which is a State, a political subdivision of a State, or an interstate governmental agency shall maintain and preserve records containing the information and data required by §553.50 and, in addition, make some notation on the payroll records which shows the work period for each employee and which indicates the length of that period and its starting time. If all the workers (or groups of workers) have a work period of the same length beginning at the same time on the same day, a single notation of the time of day and beginning day of the work period will suffice for these workers.

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