Compensatory Leave for Employees - Meaning and Sample Leave Application

Extended work hours or working on holidays and weekends have become common in workplaces. Compensatory leave for employees is a form of paid time off designed to reward employees for dedicating extra time that goes beyond their regular working hours. It's a crucial element in ensuring a healthy work-life balance. This article delves into the details of compensatory leave, explaining its definition, types, eligibility requirements, and the application process.

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What is Compensatory Leave for Employees?

Compensatory leave refers to the paid time off granted to employees in lieu of overtime pay. It's a way for employers to acknowledge and compensate their staff for the extra hours they put in. Comp time offers flexibility for employees, who can choose to take time off rather than receive immediate monetary compensation.

Types of Compensatory Leave

  • Overtime Compensatory Leave: This is the most common type. Employees earn it by working beyond their standard hours. For example, an employee working 10 hours instead of 8 on a regular work day may be eligible to take the additional 2 hours as comp time later.
  • National Holiday/Weekend Leave: Some organisations allow employees to work on designated national holidays or their scheduled weekly days off. They can opt for compensatory leave instead of overtime pay.
  • On-Call Compensatory Leave: In specific industries where employees are required to be "on-call" (available outside regular hours for emergencies), they might be compensated with either overtime pay or comp time for these standby periods.

Eligibility Criteria for Compensatory Off

Each organisation has specific comp time policies, including:

  • Accrual Rate: Dictates how quickly comp time is earned (e.g., hour-for-hour, or time-and-a-half where 1 overtime hour = 1.5 comp time hours).
  • Caps: There might be limits on how much compensatory leave can be accrued.
  • Expiry: Some policies require comp time to be used within a set period.
  • Legal Compliance: Local and national employment laws can have key stipulations about compensatory leave. These may address maximum accruals and under what circumstances comp time can be offered in place of legally mandated overtime pay. 
  • Threshold: Companies usually set thresholds for overtime eligibility. For example, an employee might need to work at least 4 hours of overtime in a week to begin accruing comp time. The eligibility also often depends on the employee's job function.

Categories of Employees Typically Eligible

While compensatory leave isn't guaranteed for every single worker in India, here are the categories where it's most commonly offered:

  • Government Employees: Especially those with roles requiring them to work on holidays or weekends.
  • Employees in Industries with Overtime Requirements: Sectors like manufacturing or essential services, where extended hours are common.
  • Employees at Companies with Benefits Packages: Many private companies proactively include compensatory leave as an attractive employee benefit.
  • Employees with Flexible or Project-Based Roles: Employees who consistently put in hours beyond the standard workday or workweek might be offered comp time as a way to compensate for their extra effort.

Compensatory Leave Application Format & Samples

When requesting compensatory leave, it's important to provide a formal and polite application to your supervisor or HR department. Follow the shared steps to craft a proper application:

  • Check Company Policy: Thoroughly review your company handbook or speak to HR about the specific process, required approvals, and any restrictions on comp leave use.
  • Gather Your Comp Time Record: Know exactly how many hours you've accrued and the dates they were earned.
  • Draft Your Application: Choose the most relevant template below and adapt it to your situation.
  • Submit with Advance Notice: Follow your company's guidelines for submission, aiming to give your manager reasonable time to review and respond.

Scenario 1: Basic Compensatory Leave Application

Subject: Application for Compensatory Leave

Dear [Supervisor's Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to request compensatory leave for [number] hours earned from working overtime on [dates]. I intend to utilize this leave on [desired dates for comp time use].

Thank you for considering my request. I am available at [your contact information] should you need to discuss this further.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

Scenario 2: After Working on a Public Holiday

Subject: Compensatory Leave Request for Working on [Holiday Name]

Dear [Supervisor's Name],

I am writing to request compensatory leave for working on [Holiday Name]. According to our policies, I am entitled to take equivalent time off. I am planning to use this leave on [desired date(s)].

Looking forward to your approval.

Thank you,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

Scenario 3: Leave for Health Recovery after Overtime

Subject: Health-Based Compensatory Leave Request Due to Recent Overtime

Dear [Supervisor's Name],

Due to extended hours worked in the recent [specify period or event], I find myself needing some time off to address health concerns. I am requesting compensatory leave on [desired dates]. I will make sure that all my duties are managed appropriately in my absence.

I appreciate your support and understanding.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

Scenario 4: After a Major Project Completion

Subject: Request for Compensatory Leave Post-Project Completion

Dear [Supervisor's Name],

Following the successful completion of [Project Name] last week, where I logged additional hours, I would like to apply for compensatory leave. I intend to take this time off on [desired dates] to recharge. I have ensured all my responsibilities are covered for these days.

Thank you for considering my request.

Best Regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]


Compensatory leave is a valuable tool that acknowledges and rewards employees' dedication beyond regular working hours. Understanding its types, eligibility criteria, and the application process is crucial for both employers and employees. By offering compensatory leave, companies demonstrate a commitment to employee well-being and foster a healthy work-life balance, promoting greater job satisfaction and productivity.


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