Q: I just read your article on Comp time and overtime. Recently I had a situation where a LEAP (Law Enforcement Availability Pay) employee worked 5 hours past his regular shift. I want to authorize him three hours for comp time, 2 hours for LEAP pay. My next line supervisor said no and it would be all LEAP pay. I guess he could be right, since 25% LEAP is pay is added into their bi-weekly pay. What is the correct way to pay this employee for his 13 hour shift?
A: Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) is a form of premium pay for certain law enforcement officers. It adds a 25 percent premium to the officer’s salary for unscheduled duty in excess of the 40 hour workweek. The term unscheduled duty means either unscheduled or irregular time the officer performs work or time the employing agency determines the officer is available for work as long as it is not (1) part of the 40 hour basic workweek; and (2) not regularly scheduled overtime. The regulations make clear that LEAP is the only form of compensation for those authorized to receive it for unscheduled or irregular work time (see 5 C.F.R. § 550.186(a)).
So for the specific situation you asked about, the important question is: were the additional hours regularly scheduled or irregular/unscheduled? If the additional hours were regularly scheduled, then the officer should be credited with 2 hours of unscheduled duty and 3 hours of overtime pay. If the additional hours were unscheduled, then the officer is credited with 5 hours of unscheduled duty.
The regulations are pretty clear about this and can be found at 5 C.F.R. §§ 550.181-550.182. Because the regulations essentially prohibit payment of any other kind of premium pay for unscheduled or irregular hours for those who receive LEAP, comp time is not an option in this situation.
Wayne Coleman is a federal pay expert available to help your agency avoid premium pay claims through on-site training. Contact him for more information.