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Policy Guide - Limits on the Accumulation of Overtime Leave

Policy 3.15, Overtime Leave, states that, "In no instance shall an employee's overtime leave balance exceed 240 hours, unless the employee holds a non-exempt public safety, emergency or seasonal position, in which case his or her overtime leave balance shall not exceed 480 hours."

Department of Labor regulations (29 CFR 553.24) explain the three ways that an employee may qualify for the 480-hour limit, rather than the normal 240-hour limit. Eligible employees are those engaged in:

  1. public safety activities , which includes law enforcement and fire fighting workers;
  2. emergency response activities , which includes dispatchers, rescue and ambulance workers; and
  3. seasonal activities, which includes workers whose work is characterized by a regular and recurring increase in workload and by the likelihood of the increase resulting in the 240-hour limit being exceeded.

It is important to note that emergency response does not mean employees who are required to report to work during office closings (e.g., a snow day). Furthermore, weather-related activities do not qualify as seasonal either, unless such activities are recurring and last for a lengthy period. On the other hand, seasonal activities may include work that is not directly related to the four seasons, including, for example, the processing of tax returns over an extended period of time.