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370.550.1 - Overtime


OPR: Admin/Office of Personnel

1. Purpose. This Survey Manual Chapter provides the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) policy on overtime and provides the basic governing regulations and procedures for the approval and compensation of overtime work.

2. Authorities. Chapter 55 of title 5 U.S. Code (USC), Chapter 8 of title 29 USC, 5 CFR 550, 5 CFR 551, and the Federal Employees' Pay Comparability Act of 1990 provide the regulatory framework under which this chapter is established.

3. Definitions. The following terms are defined as they apply to this chapter:

A. Compensatory time. Compensatory time off derives from an entitlement to overtime compensation and may be granted in lieu of payment for overtime work at the employee's request.

B. Credit hours. Employees under a Flexible Work Schedule may elect, with prior supervisory approval, to extend their basic daily work requirement by up to 2 hours, and in addition, may work up to 4 hours on Saturday or Sunday and be compensated with credit hours. Work performed to earn credit hours is considered voluntary on the part of the employee because it is not officially ordered and approved by management and, therefore, it is not overtime. Credit hours earned may then be used for approved time off without charge to the employee's leave balances.

C. "Exempt" and "Nonexempt". As part of the position classification process, USGS personnel offices are required to determine employee coverage under Chapter 8 of title 29 USC commonly referred to as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) using criteria established by the Office of Personnel Management. Employees who are covered by the FLSA are designated as "NONEXEMPT" from its overtime provisions. Employees who are not covered by the FLSA are designated as "EXEMPT" from its overtime provisions.

Note: Employees can find their designation on any of their SF-50s, Notification of Personnel Action, their position description cover sheet OF-8, and their leave and earnings statement.

D. Overtime. Overtime means work which is officially ordered and approved that exceeds 40 hours in a pay status in a workweek or 8 hours in a pay status in a day.

(1) Hours in excess of 8 in a day are not included in computing hours in excess of 40 in a workweek.

(2) Where a workweek is established as the first 40 hours of duty for an employee whose basic pay exceeds the minimum rate for GS-10, or for an employee engaged in professional or technical engineering or scientific activities, overtime means only each hour of work in excess of 40 hours in the workweek.

4. Policy.

A. Overtime will be ordered and authorized only in unusual situations where work cannot be completed during normal working hours. It should be ordered only when it is in the best interest of the Government and when funds are available for payment of overtime to employees.

B. Except under extraordinary conditions, and then only for very short periods of emergency, no employee shall be required to work more than 20 hours of overtime in any calendar week.

C. The minimum authorization for overtime work is 15 minutes. All overtime is credited in 15 minute increments (whether compensated by pay or time off). Seven minutes or less is disregarded as "de minimis" for the first and all succeeding overtime increments. A full 15 minute credit is given for 8-14 minutes of work performed.

EXCEPTION: An employee (exempt or non-exempt) who is called back to perform overtime work or to work on a nonworkday is credited with 2 hours of overtime or the actual number of hours worked, whichever is greater.

D. Except when an employee's work schedule is adjusted for religious observances (see sub-paragraph I.), earning credit hours, or when there is a negotiated labor agreement, the USGS policy regarding overtime pay is as follows:

(1) Federal Wage System employees will be paid for officially authorized overtime work.

(2) Employees covered by the FLSA (non-exempt employees) will be compensated for officially ordered and approved overtime work as well as all work management "suffers or permits" to be performed (except work performed for the purpose of earning credit hours under the flexitime program). These employees will be paid unless the employee submits a written request for compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.

(3) Employees covered by title 5 USC (exempt employees). Exempt employees are compensated for officially ordered and approved overtime as follows:

(a) Exempt employees in GS and FC pay plans whose rates of basic pay are at or below the maximum rate of a GS-10 must be paid for officially ordered and approved overtime work unless the employee requests (either orally or in writing) compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay. Compensatory time off may be granted subject to the conditions described in paragraph 8. of this chapter.

(b) Exempt employees at grades GS-11 and 12 (or equivalent) whose rates of basic pay exceed the maximum scheduled rate of GS-10 may either be paid for overtime work or granted compensatory time off at the discretion of the official who ordered and approved the overtime. Compensatory time off is subject to the conditions described in paragraph 8. of this chapter.

(c) Exempt employees at GS/GM-13 (or equivalent) and above will be granted compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay for overtime which has been officially ordered and approved subject to the conditions described in paragraph 8. of this chapter. No exceptions may be made to the granting of compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay unless the Division Chief (for employees at GS/GM-13 or equivalent) or the Director (for employees at GS/GM-14 and 15 or equivalent) has determined that an emergency or other unique situation exists and makes it in the best interest of the USGS to authorize overtime pay. The justification for payment of overtime to employees covered by this paragraph must be documented on Form 9-1205, Request for Approval of Overtime.

E. Supervisors of employees represented by labor organizations should review labor agreements for any additional overtime provisions which may be applicable.

F. Overtime authorization will not be granted for official work performed at home.

G. Employees who volunteer for participation in certain types of pre-attack civil defense training are not paid for any overtime hours worked during the training.

H. Employees are prohibited from receiving overtime pay while assigned to training except as provided in SM 370.410.

I. An employee may request to work compensatory overtime to make up for time taken when personal religious beliefs require that the employee abstain from work. An employee may work such compensatory overtime before or after the time at which the compensatory time off is taken for the religious observance. If no productive overtime is available at the time the request is made, an alternate time should be arranged for the compensatory overtime work. Compensatory overtime for this purpose is credited as described in paragraph 8. of this chapter.

5. Requesting Overtime Work. Form 9-1205, Request for Approval of Overtime (Figure 1) is used for authorizing all overtime whether compensated by pay or time off. The number and distribution of copies of the form is dictated by internal division procedures.

When approval of overtime for travel away from an employee's official headquarters and outside the regular scheduled work hours is requested, a separate Form 9-1205 is prepared for each employee. The circumstances which authorize overtime travel are to be fully explained in Item 3 of the form.

6. Authority to Approve Overtime Work. All overtime (whether compensated by pay or time off) requires advance written approval. Authority to approve overtime is delegated as follows:

A. Nonemergency Overtime.

(1) Director.

(a) Overtime requests compensated by pay for employees at GS/GM 14 and 15 (or equivalent).

(b) Overtime requests compensated by pay for employees at any grade level who have received more than 600 hours of overtime pay in a calendar year.

(2) Division Chiefs.

(a) Overtime requests compensated by time off for employees at GS/GM 14 and 15 (or equivalent).

(b) Overtime requests compensated by pay for employees at GS/GM 13 (or equivalent).

(c) Overtime requests for employees at GS 12 (or equivalent) and below, whether compensated by pay or time off, and employees at GS/GM 13 (or equivalent) compensated by time off. This authority may be redelegated by the Division Chief in writing and issued through appropriate division channels.

B. Emergency Overtime. In emergency situations, as specified by the Division Chief or his/her delegate, supervisors may be delegated authority to approve overtime requests. A copy of the approval of emergency overtime must be submitted to the official, indicated in paragraph A. above, who would normally approve the overtime request.

7. Record of Overtime. A systematic and reliable record must be maintained for all work in excess of the employee's daily (or weekly) requirement, whether compensated by pay, credit hours, or compensatory time. Supervisors and employees are equally responsible to ensure that overtime records are complete, correct, and up-to-date.

A. Form DI-502, Time and Attendance Report is used by timekeepers to report all overtime worked by employees in offices not using the USGS Automated Time and Attendance System. Reporting instructions are contained in the PAY/PERS System Time and Attendance Instructions, Volume 8.

Timekeepers in offices using the USGS Automated Time and Attendance System must record all overtime on the employee's automated timesheet at the end of each pay period.

B. Form 9-1353, Record of Overtime, Compensatory Leave, and Excused Absence (Figure 2) is used at the supervisory or office level to record overtime worked and compensatory time taken unless this information is maintained and available on a supplemental time accounting record such as a sign-in/sign-out or work recording sheet used under Flexitime.

(1) Supplemental time accounting records must include any time worked to earn credit hours under flexitime, credit hours off, and any time spent in a travel status.

(2) All overtime records and supporting documentation must be maintained for a period of 3 years or until audited by the General Accounting Office whichever is sooner.

8. Compensatory Time. Compensatory time off is credited in minimum periods of 15 minutes or multiples thereof. Credit is given on the basis of 15 minutes of compensatory time for every 15 minutes of overtime worked. Compensatory time off may be taken with prior supervisory approval under the following conditions:

A. Nonexempt employees must request compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay and must take the compensatory time off within 12 pay periods from the time that the overtime work was performed. If the compensatory time off is not taken in this time period, the employee must be paid for the overtime work under FLSA at the rate at which it was earned.

B. Exempt employees must take compensatory time off not later than 12 pay periods from the time the overtime work was performed. If it is not taken within this period of time, the exempt employee loses the right to compensatory time off and to overtime pay unless the failure to use it is the result of circumstances beyond the employee's control. In this case the compensatory time should be scheduled as soon as possible.

9. Calculation of Overtime Pay.

A. Title 5 U.S. Code (USC). Overtime is paid at a rate of one and one-half times the employee's hourly rate of basic pay. However, for employees covered by the Classification Act whose hourly basic rate of pay exceeds the rate for a GS-10 step 1, overtime is limited to payment of one and one-half the hourly rate of basic pay for GS-10 step 1. If a Classification Act employee's basic workweek includes a daily tour of duty of more than 8 hours and the hourly rate of basic pay exceeds the hourly rate of overtime compensation, he/she is paid the basic rate for each hour of his/her tour within the basic workweek.

B. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Computation of overtime under the FLSA is based on the employee's "regular" rate of pay. The "regular" rate is derived by totalling all applicable payments made for all hours in a pay status and then dividing the results by the total hours. The employee is entitled to an additional one-half the regular rate for each hour in a pay status beyond 8 in a day or 40 in a week. (Note: The prohibition against double counting excludes hours in excess of 8 in a day from the total for 40 in a week.) The following types of payments are included in calculating the regular rate of pay: basic rate of pay, night shift differential, Sunday premium pay, cost-of-living allowance, post differential, hazardous duty pay, and interim geographic adjustments. Cash award payments and other payments not for actual hours of employment are not included when computing overtime pay.

C. Limitation on Overtime Compensation. An employee is prohibited from receiving overtime pay or compensatory time off if it would cause his/her aggregate rate of pay for a pay period to exceed the maximum scheduled rate for GS-15. The maximum number of hours of compensatory time off that may be granted is the number of overtime hours for which the employee would be entitled to receive compensation at the overtime rate before reaching the prorated aggregate limitation for the pay period in which the overtime work was performed (37 Comptroller General 362).

Exception: When an emergency situation has been declared by the Secretary of the Interior, his/her designee or the Office of Personnel Management, overtime work performed in connection with that emergency is not subject to the pay period limitation described above. Instead, employees who perform work in connection with the emergency are subject to an annual limitation. The total of the employee's overtime pay when added to basic pay may not exceed the annual maximum rate for GS-15 including locality based pay such as the interim geographic adjustment and special salary rates.

10. Travel Outside Regular Duty Hours. Whenever possible an employee's travel should be scheduled within regularly scheduled work hours. However, authorized travel which is performed outside regular working hours is "hours of work" for compensation purposes provided one of the following conditions are met:

A. Title 5 USC and the FLSA.

(1) Travel involving the performance of work. This applies to work which can only be performed while traveling.

(2) Travel which is incident to the performance of work. This generally applies to a situation where an employee is on a "deadhead" trip, either traveling to a destination to board a means of transportation upon which he/she will be performing work while traveling and returning to his/her official duty station. Entitlement under this condition is limited to the situation where the work performed can only be performed while traveling, such as a truck driver riding in a truck to a destination to pick up another truck and drive it back to the original duty station or to another destination.

Following are examples of travel-work situations in the Department which are not all-inclusive but can be used as guidelines in determining other situations which travel is work or considered as work:

(a) Survey Parties. The day-to-day activities of a survey party typically involve travel between a temporary headquarters or assembly point and a survey site, and/or between survey sites. Time spent in such travel is part of the established tour of duty and is, therefore, compensable as work time at regular or overtime rates as appropriate.

(b) Employees Performing Mine Inspection Work. Employees in this group report to a headquarters office at the beginning of the day to pick up Government vehicles. They then travel to one or more work sites where they perform mine inspection work. At the end of the workday, they return to their headquarters to turn in the Government vehicles and prepare reports on inspections. The time spent in traveling from headquarters to the mine and another work site and back and between work sites is hours of work time pay purposes.

(3) Travel carried out under such arduous and unusual conditions that is inseparable from work. This includes travel over unusually adverse terrain, during severe weather conditions, or to remote barely accessible facilities by foot, horseback, or truck. Similarly, travel by automobile over a hard surfaced road when no unusually adverse weather conditions are encountered or travel by rail would not normally constitute travel under arduous conditions. In addition, the time of travel (whether to be performed during the day or night) or distance traveled is not ordinarily considered in determining whether the travel is performed under arduous conditions.

(4) Travel which results from an event that could not be scheduled or controlled administratively by the Federal Government. This refers to the ability of an agency to control the event which necessitates an employee's travel. The control is assumed to be the agency's whether the agency has sole control or the control is achieved through a group of agencies acting in concert. The Office of Personnel Management has ruled that travel outside duty hours to attend a meeting or a training program which is sponsored by a Government agency or a group of agencies would not meet the conditions for overtime pay or compensatory time off since the event is administratively controllable.

Similarly, an employee who is authorized to attend a meeting of a private society or association which requires travel outside duty hours would not entitle the employee to overtime compensation when the attendance for official reasons is administratively controllable.

On the other hand, travel will be considered hours of work when it results from unforeseen circumstances (e.g., a breakdown of equipment) or from an event which is scheduled or controlled by someone or some organization other than the Government.

If ordered travel does not meet one of the above provisions, the employee's supervisor must record the reasons for ordering the travel outside the employee's regular work schedule. An employee traveling under a specific travel authorization will have such reasons recorded in Item 10 of Form DI-1020, Travel Authorization. An employee traveling under an Area Travel Authorization or General Travel Authorization should have such reasons formally recorded on the SF-1102, Travel Voucher or supplementary statement, and this statement should be made part of the travel voucher or the original Area of General Travel Authorization. Such statements will be signed by the official authorizing travel.

B. Fair Labor Standards Act.

(1) Travel Within the Limits of Official Duty Station.

(a) Time spent traveling before or after regular working hours between official duty station and job site which is directly associated with the performance of a given job assignment is considered hours of work.

(b) Performance of work or other activity which is an integral part of an employee's job (e.g., picking up tools or receiving instructions) at a designated meeting place and travel therefrom to the job site and vice versa is considered hours of work.

(2) Travel Away from the Official Duty Station.

(a) Work Performed While Traveling. Work which an employee is required to perform while traveling before or after regular work hours such as driving a truck or piloting an airplane is hours of work. However, sleeping periods when an employee is relieved from duty are not included in hours of work.

(b) Travel as a Passenger on a 1-day Assignment. Time spent in authorized travel as a passenger to and from a temporary duty station outside the limits of the official duty station during the same day is considered hours of work.

(c) Travel as a Passenger on an Overnight Assignment. Only that part of the time spent traveling on nonworkdays that corresponds to the employee's regular working hours is hours worked. Time spent traveling outside regular working hours (and outside corresponding hours on nonworkdays) is not considered hours of work if the employee is not required to perform work while traveling.

(3) Normal home to work and work to home travel, bona fide meal periods, and time spent waiting at a common carrier terminal in excess of normal waiting time which occur outside regular working hours are not included in hours worked.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
Contact: APS, Office of Policy and Analysis
Last modification: 08-Jan-2013@15:58 (kk)
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