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Additional Hours Worked as Straight Time With Earned Time Cut - New Hampshire

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  • Additional Hours Worked as Straight Time With Earned Time Cut - New Hampshire

    I work at the University here in New Hampshire as a non-exempt employee, 40 hours per week, pay week is Saturday through Friday, and pay period is every two weeks. Non-exempt staff use Earned Time (ET) as our combination vacation/sick/bereavement time which is earned based on longevity, etc.

    Recently during our academic year opening, all hands are requested to be on deck to get our 7,500 students moved in to on-campus housing (I work in the housing operation). I worked 6.5 hours on the Saturday of opening weekend (as did everyone one else in our department both exempt and non-exempt). M, T, W, Th of the pay period week I worked 29.8 hours physically at work, with 2.2 hours ET at a medical appointment. Friday I took 8 hours of ET to have a medical procedure performed.

    Since I was not physically present for 40 hours that week, I did not expect to receive OT at 1.5 hours for the hours over 40; however, I did expect to receive additional straight time for the 6.5 hours I worked on Saturday of that week. That's always been my assumption on how OT/additional straight time worked (many, many years ago I used to do payroll - before the tectonic plates cooled).

    When I got my pay stub, I discovered I had only received my normal pay for 40 hours. I scratched my head wondering what had happened. I contacted my Division's Payroll Office and was told, they can only "code" up to 40 hours a week. Or to quote "Earned Time is a paid leave program/benefit that is to be used to help you meet your scheduled work week of 40 hours when absences occur. The first day of the week is Saturday and the last day of the week is Friday. You worked a total of 36.33 hours from Saturday 8/26/17 through Friday 9/1/17 and the payroll assistant used 3.67 hours of your earned time giving you your 40 hours a week."

    So what I'm trying to understand (hopefully with your help) is: 1) can they do that? 2) are payroll offices permitted to truncate supervisory approved ET? 3) since I wasn't going into an overtime situation, what rationale are they using? 4) if there is no written University policy regarding this, what legal rights might I have? 5) since I complete a time and attendance report which shows my absence (which must be accurate by both State Law and University policy), by the Payroll Office cutting my Friday time from 8 hours to 3.67 hours, does that not misrepresent my absence and put me in a precarious position?

    I'm just confused. All FLSA/SHRM examples I've seen have all been to the employee's benefit and have been paid as straight time (not overtime) for all hours worked + all paid time off. I've never heard of hours been truncated down to 40. I'm baffled and mystified, especially actions such as this coming from a educational institution.

    Thanks in advance for any answers, collaboration, advice.

  • #2
    I'll let the experts join in, but your University handled it just as I understand most businesses would. Earned time is meant to bring you up to your regular hours, and nothing more.

    That also means that you have more earned time left in your account since the employer did not apply it, so you are not losing anything in the overall scheme of things.
    David K. Staub (
    Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.


    • #3
      I would agree. The DOL doesn't care at all about earned time, vacation time, etc., etc.

      All that is required is that you are paid for hours actually worked, and time and a half for actual worked hours over 40. You were, so there is no issue.


      • #4
        The feds do not care about pay for hours not worked. The states might (50 different sets of rules) but I have not heard of a state with a rule similar to what you describe.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


        • #5
          I thank you all for your replies. I had hopes of course that I would get the Cinderella answer without the "clock striking midnight turn into a pumpkin result." I guess the examples I'm seeing on line should all be taken with a HUGE grain of salt. They are answering the age-old question "do vacation hours count as overtime?" so of course they show that in an ideal world vacation hours DO get paid above 40 hours and you go off happily into the sunset. None of this nonsense that you are capped at 40 hours per week. Big sigh....

          Anyway, thanks.


          • #6
            I agree this is definitely up to company/employer policy unless you are under a union CBA.... you might ask to see the policy in writing, but it isn't really required to be. It is pretty common for some employers, unless the state has stricter PTO laws (like CA).