FLSA Frequently Asked Questions
If you have additional questions related to the FLSA regulations, please contact your HR Consultant.
If you are a represented employee, the concepts of overtime, compensatory time, scheduling, etc. may be specifically negotiated into your collective bargaining agreement, and will vary from below (see Resources).
What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the United States' federal wage and hour law, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Among other things, it establishes the minimum wage and overtime pay for employees in both the private as well as the public sector.
This federal act requires the payment of overtime or compensatory time-off in lieu of overtime to employees who are considered "non-exempt" and specifies how "exempt" employees must be paid and treated in order to retain their exemption status.
What does it mean to be exempt or non-exempt?
Exempt employees are excluded from the requirement of overtime payment. Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay or compensatory time off in lieu of overtime. Under the FLSA, they are entitled to overtime pay of one and one-half their regular rate of pay for each hour they actually work over 37.5 hours per week.
For an employee to be currently classified as exempt, s/he must meet all of the following tests:
- Salary Basis Test: An employee must receive a predetermined, fixed salary that is not subject to reduction due to variations in quality or quantity of work performed.
- Minimum Salary Threshold Test: An employee must be paid a minimum salary of $455 per week ($23,660 per year).
- Duties Test: An employee must qualify as an executive, administrative, professional, or computer professional as defined in the FLSA regulations.
The minimum salary test does not apply to faculty and other salaried employees whose primary duty is teaching.
When is an employee entitled to overtime pay?
Employees holding non-exempt positions as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act, with the exception of temporary employees, are entitled to overtime pay or compensatory time off in lieu of overtime for all authorized time worked in excess of seven and one-half hours in any one day, and 37.5 hours in any one workweek. Temporary employees are entitled to overtime pay, but not compensatory time off in lieu of overtime, for all authorized hours worked in the workweek that exceed 40 hours. All overtime must be approved by the department head prior to the time such hours are worked. Overtime work is to be limited to emergency needs only. Unit administrators are responsible for controlling hours worked by personnel under their direction and for ensuring such service is accurately reported and formally confirmed by the reporting staff member and appropriate supervisor. For represented employees, refer to your collective bargaining agreement.
What is changing?
The DOL issued a final rule, effective 12/1/16, that increases the minimum salary exemption threshold from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $913 per week ($47,476 annually). This threshold is set to automatically increase every three years.
Why was this regulation modified?
To ensure the FLSA's intended protections are fully implemented and to simplify the identification of eligible employees.
When will these changes become effective?
Employers must be in compliance by December 1, 2016.
Who will become impacted as a result of this regulation change?
Any full-time or part-time WSU employee that is currently exempt and receiving a salary below the new threshold of $913 per week ($47,476 annually) will be impacted.
Teachers, lawyers, and doctors qualify for an exemption as professionals. Faculty and other instructional academic staff whose primary duties are teaching will remain exempt regardless of their salaries. To be properly designated as a teacher, an employee must have actual instructional duties. Those who support teaching activities without actual teaching interaction will most likely be designated as non-exempt.
Employees whose primary duty is performing administrative functions directly related to academic instruction qualify as academic administrators and are not entitled to overtime compensation if they are paid at least as much as the entrance salary for teachers at their institution.
The DOL further states that employees who work in higher education, but whose work does not relate to the educational field, are not performing academic administrative work, and thus do not qualify for the reduced salary threshold. Admissions counselors, building maintenance employees, health care employees, dining hall managers, and dietitians do not perform academic administrative functions; therefore, they do not qualify for this exemption. For example, employees holding positions such as mental health counselors in the student health center do not qualify for this exemption because they do not engage in work directly related to the academic operations and functions of the university.
Who is excluded from this regulation change?
Faculty, part-time faculty, graduate teaching assistants, athletic coaches, extension program coordinators (I and II), and other academic instructional employees are automatically exempt due to FLSA teaching exemption.
What is being done currently to address this regulation change?
A project committee and work groups are actively assessing the impact of this regulation change and proposing recommendations. Decisions will be communicated in October with implementation resources shared in November.
How and when will individuals impacted by this change be notified?
Final decisions will be determined late October, 2016 by the University's Presidential Cabinet. Impacted employees will receive further information from their manager as well as their HR Consultant shortly afterward.
Where can I receive more information?
A brief eLearning course on FLSA is available. It shares more details about this regulation, the upcoming change, and the requirements for exempt and non-exempt employees.
I am currently an exempt employee, but I will be classified as non-exempt as a result of the FLSA revision. What changes am I now responsible for?
If you work over 7.5 hours in a day or 37.5 hours in a week, you will be entitled to overtime or compensatory time-off in lieu of overtime pay. This will be paid at a rate of time and a half.
Regardless of how many hours you work per week, you will be responsible for tracking your time and inputting it into Web Time Entry to ensure you will receive a paycheck.
Prior approval from your manager must be received for any time worked over 7. 5 hours in a day or 37.5 hours in a work week. This includes checking email, phone calls, and conducting any other work-related activity inside or outside of your place of work.
What changes in my benefits will I see as a newly non-represented professional eligible for overtime?
Non-represented staff benefits will not change with the exception of the illness bank accrual (which will maintain your current bank and effective 11/21/16 you will begin accruing illness hours at a rate of 6.38 hours/pay period to a maximum of 1,500 hours for non-rep employees – an increase from the prior maximum of 990). To ensure all impacted employees receive their illness bank allotment of 165 hours for calendar year 2016, if your anniversary date is between 11/21 and 12/31 you will receive these hours (165) on 11/21/16 and begin accruing 6.38 hours per pay period, thereafter. Additionally, special needs time will no longer accrue but any purpose time is increased from 15 hours to a total of 37.5 hours. Please refer to the Personnel Manual for Non-Represented Employees, section 2 Benefits for more information.
If you are represented and a newly non-exempt employee, there are no changes to your benefits. Please refer to your collective bargaining agreement for further information regarding your benefits.
I prefer compensatory time over paid overtime. Is this possible?
Yes, provided that you received prior approval from your manager prior to working overtime and this is consistent with your collective bargaining agreement, if represented. For example, the AAUP contract does not allow for overtime and provides only compensatory time off in lieu of overtime. Please contact Labor Relations (for non-academic, represented staff) or Academic Personnel (for academic, represented staff) should questions arise.
Non-academic, non-represented staff should work in accordance with the APPM 4.0 Payroll Practices policy. All compensatory time must be tracked in Web Time Entry and will accrue at the same rate as that for overtime, up to a total of 60 hours that could be accumulated.
Represented staff will continue to use this in accordance with their collective bargaining agreement.
Can a non-represented professional eligible for overtime still work early and late?
Please refer to your collective bargaining agreement, if represented. For some non-exempt academic and non-academic staff, however, an adjusted work schedule is permissible to accommodate peak work times and other workload demands.
This must be pre-approved by your manager and occur within the established work week. For instance, if you were to come in early or stay late one day during the week (Monday-Sunday), with your manager’s approval, you might agree to come in late or leave early another day during that same week to ensure that your daily hours do not exceed 7.5 hours and your weekly hours does not exceed 37.5.
Where can I receive more training and support?
An Introduction to FLSA eLearning course is available in Accelerate. Click here to learn more: http://hr.wayne.edu/tcw/flsa/additional-resources.php.
About the Revised Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Regulations
What is being done currently to address this regulation change?
A project committee and work groups evaluated how we currently operate and developed recommendations for implementing the new regulations as well as addressed the impact on our employees. All recommendations were approved and the committee will be working over the next several weeks to implement the necessary changes to comply with the new rules.
By now, your HR Consultant should be working with you to discuss the upcoming changes and if any of your employees are directly impacted. In the meantime, we encourage you to take the following actions:
- Meet with your employees between October 25 and November 11 to discuss what the FLSA revision means for them
- Register for FLSA Manager training
- Download the Manager Toolkit in Accelerate
How can I begin to answer employee questions about these changes now?
Your HR Consultant will share tools to help you with these conversations and can be a sounding board during this process. Training is also available in Training, Seminars, Workshops (TSW) located in Academica.
Conversations should emphasize that an FLSA “exempt” or “non-exempt” label does not distinguish an employee’s status. This is not a term that means “professional” – it simply identifies who is eligible for overtime. All employees, regardless of exemption status, are important and valued in delivering services for our students and campus community.
What should I do now to prepare for the upcoming changes?
- Review the workload of impacted employees. Estimate the amount of overtime that impacted employees’ typically work and how that may impact budget/s.
- Work with your Business Affairs Officer and HR Consultant to determine the financial and personnel management options.
What should I do if I have current hiring needs in the interim?
Work with your HR Consultant. They will partner with WSU’s Compensation Office in the Division of Human Resources, who determines the FLSA exemption status for all non-academic roles.
Tools to support this process for non-academic employees can be found here, including a new, non-academic/non-represented job description template with an FLSA exemption checklist.
For academic represented and non-represented roles, work with Academic Personnel.
Who is Impacted?
How will I know which of my staff, if any, will be affected by the changes?
Your HR Consultant has provided a list of affected employees. S/he will confirm the final list and will be meeting with affected managers in late October.
What changes would an affected employee expect to see?
Non-exempt employees who work over 7.5 hours in a day or 37.5 hours in a week will be entitled to overtime or compensatory time off in lieu of overtime. The hours worked will be paid at a rate of time and a half. For represented staff, check the appropriate collective bargaining agreement.
All non-exempt employees will be responsible for tracking their time and entering hours into Web Time Entry (WTE). This will be required in order to receive a paycheck. Please ensure that you and or any other WTE approvers have deadlines posted in your schedule to ensure timely approval. The pay calendar is a support to help with this.
Job aids for WTE approval may be helpful to share the procedure; please contact the Payroll Office with questions.
Prior approval from you must be received for any time worked over 7.5 hours in a day or 37.5 hours/week. This includes checking email, phone calls, and conducting any other work-related activity inside or outside of the workplace.
If an affected employee is represented, what role, if any, will the collective bargaining agreement play in terms of these changes?
We’ll honor all language in the collective bargaining agreements. Only three specific areas were reviewed in terms of our contracts – the ability for a unit to raise salaries, illness leave benefits, and flexible work hours.
From an AAUP perspective, there is no change in terms of illness leave benefits – all bargaining unit members receive an annual 165-hour deposit into his/her illness bank on the member’s anniversary, up to the maximum bank of 990 hours of illness time (Article XIII.C.1). Additionally, there is no change when it comes to flexible work hours – units are expected to develop a flexible work hour policy under the Letter of Agreement dated August 19, 2002. From a salary perspective, however, units were encouraged to not raise salaries outside the usual annual evaluation and/or promotion process to reach the minimum FLSA salary requirements. (Note to manager: any request for salary increases must be reviewed and approved in the Provost’s Office and funded by the Unit.)
From a P&A perspective, there is no change in terms of illness leave benefits. Article 44 provisions are not tied to exempt or non-exempt status – this benefit is for all full-time P&A bargaining unit employees. In addition, because P&A employees do not have short term disability benefits, their illness accruals are more generous. Managers are not able to change employee schedules as needs arise or assign varying daily start times. When a P&A member needs to work late or start work early, overtime should be paid. Finally, in terms of raising salaries, managers are not able to unilaterally increase/decrease contract-based P&A base salaries as they have been have bargained for.
Is increasing an employee’s salary above the new salary threshold enough to meet the FLSA exempt status?
Yes, for non-represented employees classified as exempt prior to the FLSA revision, effective 12/1/16.
- This is just one of three FLSA “tests” in order for a job to be classified as exempt. Job that do not meet all three tests are non-exempt, regardless of salary. Refer to the Introduction to FLSA eLearning to learn more and contact the Compensation Office with questions.
- This is not a recommended course of action, if the role is represented. Please see response to #12 above.
How will employees be notified of any change in their overtime eligibility?
Managers of affected employees will be provided guidance to communicate with each employee. Additionally, all affected employees will receive direct communication in the form of a letter.
HR Consultants will be available to partner on the preparation and facilitation of this conversation and tools and training will be provided as support.
How will a change in in overtime eligibility affect a newly non-exempt, non-represented employee in terms of benefits?
Non-represented staff member benefits will not change with the exception of the illness bank accrual (which will maintain your current bank and effective 11/21/16 you will begin accruing illness hours at a rate of 6.38 hours/pay period to a maximum of 1,500 hours for non-rep employees – an increase from the prior maximum of 990). To ensure all impacted employees receive their illness bank allotment of 165 hours for calendar year 2016, if your anniversary date is between 11/21 and 12/31 you will receive these hours (165) on 11/21/16 and begin accruing 6.38 hours per pay period, thereafter. Additionally, special needs time will no longer accrue but any purpose time is increased from 15 hours to a total of 37.5 hours. Please refer to the Personnel Manual for Non-Represented Employees, section 2 Benefits for more information.
If newly non-exempt staff members are represented, there are no changes to their benefits. Please refer to the appropriate collective bargaining agreement for further information.
How will a part-time employee be impacted if his/her salary is below the revised threshold?
All part-time employees will be non-exempt if their annual salary is below $913/week ($47,476 annually).
What is My Role as a Manager?
Do I need to process an EPAF transaction to change that person’s status?
No. Upon implementation on 11/19/16 (for 12/1/16 payroll), all employees who are affected will be automatically converted.
What are the key responsibilities of any WSU manager of non-exempt employees?
Managers must communicate with affected employees to ensure that they:
- Track all time worked in Web Time Entry. This is required in order to receive a paycheck.
- Receive prior approval for any overtime worked (more than 7.5 hours or 37.5 hours/week).
- Consider adjusting schedules as an option (excluding P&A members). If used, schedules must be adjusted in the same established work week (Monday – Sunday, 37.5 hours/week total).
What counts as overtime?
All work-related activity that occurs after an employee has worked 7.5 hours in a day or 37.5 hours/week. This includes travel time, training time, shift preparation/transition time and “casual work” such as checking email or listening to phone messages.
Who is responsible for authorizing and scheduling overtime?
As the non-exempt employee’s manager, only you can authorize and schedule overtime.
Are there other options for overtime payment?
Yes. Non-represented professionals now eligible for overtime who work more than 7.5 hours in a day or 37.5 hours in a workweek can be compensated by either option below, in accordance with the affected employee’s preference:
- Overtime pay. This is calculated at a rate of time and a half for hours worked over 7.5 hours in a day or 37.5/week.
- Accrual of compensatory time off in lieu of overtime. This would be calculated at a rate of time and a half for hours worked over 7.5 hours in a day or 37.5 hours in a workweek. The accrual maximum for compensatory time off is 60 hours, in accordance with WSU’s APPM 4.0 Payroll Practices policy.
Represented staff should refer to their collective bargaining agreement. Please note: AAUP academic staff will be provided compensatory time off in lieu of overtime only.
If an employee does not report overtime hours worked on his/her timesheet and the manager discovers this after the close of the pay period, what should be done?
In order to comply with the FLSA, it is important for employees to report overtime hours within the relevant pay period. However, if overtime hours are not properly recorded, the employee should complete a late paper time sheet.
If an employee works overtime without having obtained prior approval from the manager, what should be done?
The employee must be compensated for overtime for time worked over 7.5 hours in a day or 37.5 hours/week. However, if the requirement for pre-approval has been clearly communicated to the employee, failure to comply could result in disciplinary action. Work with your HR Consultant to validate the right approach.
What resources are available to help me?
The below key Campus contacts are available. Also, please refer to the FLSA resources for additional support.
Academic Personnel (For academic represented (unionized) faculty and staff)
Human Resources, Compensation
Human Resources, Client Services
Labor Relations (For non-academic, represented (unionized) personnel; contract interpretation)