Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 01 Volunteer 1

Human Resource questions for dentists: Basing hires on volunteer efforts; Is comp time illegal?

Jan. 22, 2015
These dentists need answers, and fast! Is comp time illegal? The employees love it! Can this office hire people based on their volunteer efforts?
QUESTION: When we’re considering hiring someone, we like to learn about any community volunteering the person has done. Someone will get higher “points” for being a volunteer, and for continuing that activity once her or she is hired. We do not pay for volunteer time, however. Is this a problem?

ANSWER: In general, you are not responsible for and do not need to pay an employee for what he or she does on his or her own time.If, however, this volunteer time is for the company or impacts the employee’s performance standings, then it may become work-related and would then have to be paid. Also, some states have laws prohibiting employers from keeping records of employees’ non-employment activities, thus you cannot make employment decisions on such activities. In general, it is recommended that offices keep hiring and employee management focused only on work-related aspects.

QUESTION: When our employees work overtime, we bank those hours and let employees take time off at a later date. We do not pay them overtime. Our employees really like this system. However, a colleague of mine said this is illegal. Is she right?

ANSWER: The system you have established with your employees is a version of “compensatory time” or, “comp time.” Under a “comp time” scenario employees receive the equivalent of time off instead of compensation at time and one half for working overtime. This type of program is currently illegal in the private sector for non-exempt employees. Employees who work overtime must be paid time and one-half for all of those hours. You cannot bank those hours for time off later, despite the fact that your employees seem to like it.

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Human Resources Tips for Dental Practices is provided by Tim Twigg and Rebecca Boartfield of Bent Ericksen & Associates. Tim Twigg is president and Rebecca Boartfield is a human resource compliance consultant with Bent Ericksen & Associates. For 30 years, the company has been a leading authority in human resource and personnel issues, helping dentists deal successfully with the ever-changing and complex labor laws. To receive a complimentary copy of the company’s quarterly newsletter or to learn more about its services, call (800) 679-2760 or visit