Today’s burning question: If a collective bargaining agreement requires a fire department to count vacation and sick time as hours worked for overtime purposes, do these hours have to count toward hours worked for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime purposes.
Answer: The FLSA only requires an employer to compensate an employee for hours actually worked. Thus, for FLSA purposes, vacation, sick leave, or other forms of paid leave do not count as hours worked for FLSA overtime purposes.
That is not to say that the fire department can avoid crediting you those hours for overtime purposes. It just means that an employee who is denied overtime in violation of the collective bargaining agreement must grieve the violation and/or sue under state law. They could not sue under the FLSA to enforce the CBA’s requirement relative to hours worked.