Because many employers can find these two categories confusing, we decided to help clarify things. To begin with, comp time is basically illegal unless you’re a federal or state employer. Comp time allows you to work extra one week and then get the time off at a time-and-a-half rate the next week. Government employers who do this are limited to 240 hours of comp time off (CTO). They must be requested by employees only. Although comp time is theoretically available under California state law, employers are still required to pay the time at an overtime rate. For most businesses, providing CTO just isn’t worth it — in California or any other state.
Make-up time is different because it involves swapping some hours for other hours within a week period and avoiding overtime obligations in the process. To get make-up time, there must be a written request, a personal obligation of the employee, and the make-up time has to occur in the same week. Under Federal law, as long as employees work less than 40 hours a week, make-up time is not an issue. Under California law, with its eight-hour overtime requirement, there are more specific rules: The employee may not exceed more than 11 hours of work in one day or 40 hours in the week (the only real distinction with federal law is the 11-hour limit). HR That Works users can find a Sample Make-Up Time Policy and Request on the Web site.