29 CFR § 553.23 - Agreement or understanding prior to performance of work.

§ 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extent that any provision of an agreement or understanding is in violation of section 7(o) of the Act, the provision is superseded by the requirements of section 7(o).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]