The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JULY-AUGUST 2022 71 AFSA NEWS Overtime and Comp Time Overseas: A Q&A with AFSA’s James Yorke As U.S. missions around the world head into the busy fall season, some Foreign Service members may be looking to brush up on overtime and compensation policies overseas. James Yorke, AFSA’s senior labor management adviser, reviews the basics. Q: Who is entitled to overtime and comp time overseas? A: With some excep- tions, FS specialists and FS untenured generalists serving overseas are entitled to “premium compensation,” which includes overtime pay, compensatory time off (comp time), holiday pay, Sunday premium pay, night differen- tial, etc. This compensation falls under Title 5 of the U.S. Code, and employees are eli- gible if they work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. After tenur- ing, generalists are no longer eligible under Title 5. Tenured officers can get special comp time and special differentials under the FS Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is not applicable overseas. Q: When can I receive premium compensa- tion overseas? A: Only when the over- time is ordered or approved in writing by an authoriz- ing official. Form DS 3060, “Authorization of Premium Compensation,” should be used to document approved overtime. Get your over- time approved in writing, in advance. The department’s regulations require this, even though it is not required by the Title 5 regulations. Q: Are there different kinds of overtime work? A: Yes. There is a distinc- tion between overtime work that is “regularly scheduled” and that which is “irregular and occasional.” Regularly scheduled over- time is scheduled in advance (before midnight Sunday) as part of your administrative workweek, or before 12:01 a.m. on Sunday. For example, if your supervisor schedules you to work five hours of overtime in advance of the workweek to cover a VIP visit, that overtime is “regularly scheduled.” “Irregular or occasional” overtime is not scheduled in advance. For example, if your supervisor asks you to stay after hours to finish a cable, the overtime is “irregular or occasional.” However, if an authorizing official knew in advance of the workweek the specific days and hours of the work require- ment and could have deter- mined which employee had to be scheduled to meet that requirement, the overtime may be converted to “regu- larly scheduled” overtime. For example, if you have had to work four hours of overtime every Friday for the past two months to cover for a foreseeable recurring event, you have a good argument for having the overtime con- verted to “regularly scheduled overtime.” Q: Does the distinction between regularly scheduled and occasional overtime matter? A: Yes, it’s important because it affects the type of compensation you can receive. For specialists and untenured officers, if the over- time is regularly scheduled, you must receive overtime pay. For specialists and untenured officers, if the over- time work is irregular or occa- sional, and your basic rate of pay is at or below the maxi- mum rate for GS-10/10, you may choose either overtime pay or regular compensatory time off. (GS10/10 BASIC rate in 2022 - $67,425) For specialists and unten- ured officers, if the overtime is irregular or occasional and your basic rate of pay is greater than the maximum for a GS-10/10, then you are only entitled to receive compen- satory time off (assigned the same monetary value as overtime pay and subject to the biweekly pay cap for EX-V or GS-15/10, whichever is higher). Q: Is there a cap on compensation? A: Yes. Under Title 5, you may receive premium compensation if it does not raise your total pay—basic pay plus premium pay—for any biweekly pay period above the basic pay for GS-15, Step 10, or an EX-V, whichever is greater. For pay cap purposes, comp time is monetarily equivalent to overtime pay. There is no GS pay scale overseas, so a notional overseas rate that applies the 21.02 percent OCP compara- bility must be calculated. In 2022, therefore, the overseas notional pay for a GS15/10 is the greater amount, so the biweekly premium pay cap overseas is $6,808.06. Q: What should be my hourly OT rate? A: Your overtime hourly rate is either one and half times your hourly rate, one and a half times the hourly rate of a GS-10/1, or your own hourly rate. (To find your hourly rate, divide your annual rate by 2,087.) In 2022, therefore, if your hourly rate is less than $30.17 overseas, your Continued on page 72