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Human Resources: FLSA FAQ

Here you will find answers to your most frequently asked questions regarding the new FLSA roll out. Should you have questions not addressed here, please contact the Human Resources office at 42587 or human.resources@armstrong.edu.

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

FLSA stands for the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“the FLSA”), the statute which contains the federal wage and hour laws for which employers with workers within the United States must comply. The FLSA sets the criteria to determine which employees are entitled to overtime based on duties performed, level of responsibility, decision making authority and level of compensation. The FLSA also establishes the rules that employers must follow relating to payment of overtime. Specifically, the FLSA requires that non-exempt employees receive pay for all hours worked and overtime pay of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a fixed seven day period. All jobs worked by University employees are covered by the FLSA.

What is changing under the FLSA and when?
The FLSA “Minimum Salary Test” is changing. The United States Department of Labor has enacted changes that significantly increase the current minimum salary threshold of $455 per week or $23,660 annually to $913 per week or $47,476 per year. Effective December 1, 2016 the new minimum salary for which an employee can be designated as exempt from overtime requirements will be $913 per week or $47,476 per year. The final rule provides for future automatic updates to the salary and compensation levels every three years beginning on January 1, 2020.
What does it mean to move from exempt to non-exempt status?

If you hold an exempt/monthly position with the University, meaning you are a salaried staff member not eligible for overtime pay, you may be affected by the FLSA changes. The new federal ruling raises the salary threshold required to qualify for exemption from overtime to $47,476 per year (up from $23,660 per year). This means Armstrong staff positions that fall below this salary threshold will move from the current exempt status (paid monthly) to overtime eligible non-exempt status (paid bi-weekly) and must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per work week, effective November 1, 2016.

Can I opt out of this change?

No. the FLSA is a federal law, not an employee choice. Determination of an employee’s FLSA status is determined by the federal law requirements.

If I am already a non-exempt (paid by the hour) employee, does this change affect me?

If you are a staff member working in a nonexempt/bi-weekly position at Armstrong, meaning you are eligible for overtime pay, these changes will not affect you in any way.

What is the "duties test" and how does it affect my position?

An employee who meets the salary level tests (has a salary above $47,476) is exempt only if s/he also performs exempt job duties. The FLSA duties test exemptions are limited to employees who perform relatively high-level work. Whether the duties of a particular job qualify as exempt depends on what they are. Job titles or position descriptions are of limited usefulness in this determination. It is the actual job tasks that must be evaluated, along with how the particular job tasks "fit" into the employer's overall operations. The Final Rule is not changing any of the existing job duty requirements to qualify for exemption.

Will some employees receive a pay increase for the purpose of maintaining the employee's exempt status?

It is an employer’s decision. There is no additional funding for such pay increases, but Armstrong State University may, in some cases, decide to raise the pay rate of an employee in order to preserve the exempt status. While some adjustments may occur, they will be based on many factors so employees should not automatically expect a salary increase due to the legislation.

If I am affected by the FLSA changes, will I be eligible for overtime pay?

Yes. The FLSA provides that all non-exempt (hourly) employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay.

What does this mean for immediate supervisor?

Immediate supervisors will need to monitor and approve the hours worked of their newly non-exempt employees in order to ensure hours are being reported in compliance with FLSA. All overtime worked by a non-exempt employee must be approved in advance by the supervisor.

We are in the process of working closely with administrators who have employees who will be affected by the change in regulations to determine the most appropriate, most equitable and least disruptive implementation process.

We understand potentially affected employees will have questions and concerns and are committed to being as prepared as possible to take action on the new regulations in order to keep uncertainty and speculation to a minimum. Employees who are converted to non-exempt status — and their managers — will need to be informed and trained on how the change affects pay schedules, time keeping, leave policies and more, and that process is also being planned for and readied for implementation.

Does the term non-exempt mean non-professional?

No. The term “non-exempt” simply means that the individual holding the position is eligible for overtime.

What about comp time?

The use of compensatory time ("comp time") instead of overtime pay is a tool that can be used to manage employee overtime.The University is currently in the process of developing a policy that provides guidance on eligibility and use of compensatory time.

Will the FLSA changes affect my retirement and leave benefits?

No. There will be no impact on current retirement plan selection. It is the policy of the USG system that all employees who are non-exempt (hourly) be placed on TRS retirement plans. However the USG has approved that employees whose status is changing from exempt to non-exempt as result of the new FLSA regulations and are currently in an ORP retirement plan will be able to remain in that plan.

How does this affect part-time of a less-than 100% contract employee?

Pay for part-time appointments will not be pro-rated under the new regulations. An employee with a .75 appointment, to a position that would pay $60,000 (above the threshold) is paid $45,000. $45,000 is below the anticipated minimum salary threshold, and the employee will be nonexempt.

Do the new FLSA rules affect faculty?

The new rules do not affect instructional faculty (tenure track, clinical track and lecturers). Coaches are also exempt from the new rule.

For an academic staff employee, does being paid hourly mean being paid on the bi-weekly payroll?

Yes. Hourly nonexempt academic staff employees will receive pay on a biweekly basis.

Can a nonexempt employee still attend professional conferences?

Yes. Nonexempt employees must account for the hours of their travel time and for the hours of conference attendance, but there is no prohibition on traveling or professional development.

Can a non-exempt hourly-paid employee still work early and late and/or be required to check emails and voice mails from home?

It is important to distinguish between tasks an employee is required to do because a supervisor requests it and tasks an employee may ”desire” to do simply because it is the way the employee likes to work. As a rule of thumb, work schedules, including flexible work schedules, or arrangements to work from home on occasion, need to be managed and approved by an employee’s supervisor -- just the same as when the employee was exempt. Whether an employee is required to check emails or messages or perform work from home also must be managed and approved by the employee’s supervisor. An employee should not presume that it is permissible to do this work outside of the regular work day without prior approval from a supervisor. In addition, work performed outside of work which would result in overtime must be authorized in advance by an employee’s supervisor because all time worked must be accounted for and recorded as “time worked.”

How is tracking work hours different for a non-exempt hourly-paid employee?

Non-exempt employees will enter daily hours in ADP (hours worked, sick, vacation, etc.). They will be required to save and approve their time in ADP bi-weekly, adhering to the USG and Armstrong payroll deadlines.

Should it be necessary for an employee to change pay cycles, what impact will the change to the hourly (overtime eligible) pay cycle have on paycheck deductions?

Employees will want to review their direct deposit selections to make sure that their selections work with the conversion to the 26 biweekly payment schedule. Due to the shift in pay cycle, employees may need to make adjustments for direct deposit, tax withholding, and voluntary contributions to the retirement program as detailed below:

  • Direct Deposit: Employees can change direct deposit account information in ADP or by visiting payroll to complete a new authorization form.
  • Tax Data: Employees can change tax withholdings by visiting payroll to complete new GA and W4 forms. Current witholdings can be found in ADP.
  • Voluntary Contributions to the University's Retirement Plan: Employees can change voluntary contributions (403b and 457b) by completing a new Salary Reduction Agreement and submitting it to Human Resources.

A number of other deductions will be adjusted automatically, including: United Way contributions, ASUGIFT donations, Athletic Club deductions, Parking deductions, Health Care deductions, Dental Plan deductions, Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account deductions, and Long Term Care, Optional Life Insurance and MetLife Auto & Home deductions. Employees will not need to make any changes for these types of deductions.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

Please contact John Brooks John.Brooks@armstrong.edu or Willette Stevens WilletteStevens@armstrong.edu in human resources for additional questions regarding the new FLSA rule changes.