Comp. Time and Overtime: Only After 45 Hours of Work a Week?

Things have been busy at PayScale - we have been adding new features to our flagship professional product, PayScale Insight, and our Research Center - so I haven’t had as much time to post on salary issues.

I did respond to a reader’s question about overtime; others might be interested in the question and answer:

I get paid a annual salary of $40,000. I am a maintenance person. I work on AC units and furnaces; I paint; I am a jack of all trades and a master of none. I work around 5 to 6 hrs overtime a week.

My employer says I can't get comp time until 45 hrs a week have been met; is this legal? I only get 1 hr comp time over 45 hrs. Should I get 1 1/2, if it is legal to allow the comp time over 45 hours? This must mean I’m non-exempt right? If I confront them with this issue, can they say you are exempt and work me to no end? Help!

These questions are about the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): what is a legal use of over-time, comp. time, etc.?

In this post, I will answer these, and also take a quick look at what FLSA says about breaks and meal time.

Wondering if you should be earning $40,000/year, like our "Jack" of all trades? Use the PayScale Salary Calculator to find out.