GFT is informed that on March 25, 2019 a memorandum was circulated to officers and employees at the Department of Corrections with a waiver (of overtime compensation) agreement. We are further informed that the management of the Department of Corrections is seeking to reduce operational costs of the facility by encouraging employees to accept “Compensatory time off” in lieu of “overtime compensation” at 1½ times your regular salary rate.

Your employer seeks to avoid paying overtime compensation by providing compensatory time off, or “comp time,” to employees who work more than 43 hours per week. Although compensatory time off is permitted under the law, it may be impractical for the Department of corrections to utilize comp time as an alternative to overtime.

Before signing the overtime waiver agreement, employees should be informed of the following:

1. A government agency may not require mandatory comp time for employees as a substitute for required overtime pay. This must be a voluntary act of the employee without coercion or any sort. Similarly, employees that opt out of the Comp. Time program must not be harassed or penalized in any way.

2. Dept. of Corrections is presently operating at a critical staffing level and it may be difficult or even impossible to grant employees time off when requested. Employees 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 an employee making a request for use of such time. Keep in mind that with CTO in place, there will be a substantial increase in employee absenteeism as accrued CTO leave is utilized in an agency already operating at a crisis staffing level. If management is unable to grant an employee’s leave request for comp time, it is possible that employees may forfeit the accrued comp time. For this reason, we do not feel the Department of Corrections can be relied upon to grant your leave when requested.

3. To avoid forfeiting comp time, an employee must use accrued comp time within 26 pay periods from the pay period during which they earned it. If it is not used within 26 pay periods or if the employee transfers to another agency before the 26 pay period, the employee must be paid for the earned comp time off at the overtime rate. This 26 pay period window is a moving target and hard to track when employees are regularly accruing CTO each pay period. Accrued CTO must be reflected on your time sheets and payroll records and check stubs. We have no information that would lead us to believe that DOC is working with DOA to ensure payroll properly manages CTO in the agency. DOC has a poor history of making timely overtime payments to employees and for this reason, we do not believe the agency can be relied upon to compensate employees for accrued CTO at the end of the 26 pay period limitation.

4. Department of Corrections currently owes overtime compensation to its employees for years. In the matter of Antone Aguon, et al. vs. Department of Corrections and Dept. of Administration, Case No. CV1360-10 the courts have ordered payment of overtime compensation to employees of DOC. To date, the Department of Corrections has not complied with that court order and has failed to compensate employees for overtime wages. For this reason, we do not feel DOC can be relied on to pay out CTO at the overtime rate when it is required to do so.

GFT does not support the agency’s request for employees to accept CTO in lieu of overtime compensation at this time. GFT is willing to consult with DOC in the planning and implementation of policies and procedures that directly affect the employees of the agency who are also members of our union.