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, scheduling, etc. may be specifically negotiated into your collective bargaining agreement, and will vary from below.
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 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. 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 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 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 rule that increases the minimum salary exemption threshold from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $684 per week ($35,568 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 January 1, 2020.
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 $684 per week ($35,568 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.
How and when will individuals impacted by this change be notified?
Final decisions will be determined and employees will be notified by December 20, 2019. Impacted employees will receive information from their manager as well as their HR Consultant.
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. 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 workweek. 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 1/1/20 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 2019, if your anniversary date is between 11/21 and 12/31 you will receive these hours (165) on 12/31/19 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.
Can a non-represented professional eligible for overtime still work early and late?
For some non-exempt academic and non-academic staff, 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 workweek. 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.
Please refer to your collective bargaining agreement if you are a represented employee.
Where can I receive more training and support?
Web Time Entry training is available in Accelerate or contact your HR Consultant for additional support.
How will I know which of my staff, if any, will be affected by the changes?
Your HR Consultant has been provided with a list of affected employees. S/he will confirm the final list and will be meeting with affected managers.
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. 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 tool to help with this.
Prior approval 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.
Non-exempt employees will also receive up to a maximum of 40 hours within a rolling 12-month period of paid medical leave for time off to cover PMLA-related illness.
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.
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 $684/week ($35,568 annually).
Do I need to process an EPAF transaction to change that person's status?
No. Upon implementation, 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).
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.