FLSA Overtime Fact Sheet

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FLSA General FAQs

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

What are the recent changes to the FLSA?

Effective September 24, 2019, an employee must earn at least $684 per week ($35,568 annually) and meet the “Standard Duties” test for executive, administrative, or professional employees, as defined by the Department of Labor (DOL), to be ineligible for overtime pay.   Other requirements remain the same.

Why is the regulation being changed?

The final rule updates the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. The new thresholds account for growth in employee earnings since the thresholds were last updated in 2004.*

*A previous 2016 final rule on overtime was rescinded by the Department of Labor. As such, the Department of Labor has consistently enforced the 2004 level throughout the last 15 years.

When are the changes effective?

The announced changes are effective January 1, 2020.

Will the salary levels be reviewed again?

Experience has shown that fixed earning thresholds become substantially less effective over time. Additionally, lengthy delays between updates necessitate disruptively large increases when overdue updates finally occur. Accordingly, in the final rule the Department reaffirms its intent to update the earnings thresholds more regularly in the future.

Is the salary test prorated based on Full Time Equivalency (FTE)?

No. Regardless of FTE, an employee must earn at least $684 per week ($35,568 annually) and meet the “Standard Duties” test for executive, administrative, or professional employees, as defined by the DOL, to be ineligible for overtime pay. 

Do the new FLSA rules affect faculty?

The new rules do not affect instructional faculty (tenure track, clinical track and lecturers). Research faculty and librarians may be affected.

Are post-doctoral researchers affected by the new FLSA rules?

Post docs are affected by the new rules (unless the primary duty is teaching).

Are graduate research assistants (GRA) and graduate teaching assistants (GTA) affected?

When instruction is the primary duty, the new rules do not apply and will not become eligible for overtime pay. When research assistants are engaged in research in the course of obtaining a degree, they will not become eligible for overtime pay under the new rules.

Will this have an impact on employees who are already eligible for overtime pay?

There will be no change to employees who are currently eligible for overtime pay.

If an employee no longer meets the new salary requirement and becomes eligible for overtime, how will they be notified?

Employees and their supervisors will receive notification from Human Resources that they have dropped below the minimum threshold and will be required to complete a timesheet.

How many hours in a work week must overtime eligible employees work before they are paid overtime?

Overtime eligible employees must be paid overtime (1.5 times regular hourly rate) for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours within the work week. Leave with pay during employees’ regular work schedule is not considered time worked for the purposes of overtime.

Can compensatory time be given to overtime eligible employees in lieu of overtime pay?

No, compensatory time is not allowed. See BOR Policy 04.05 Paragraph 020 Section E.1.a.

 “FLSA compensatory time” and “FLSA compensatory time off” are defined by the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL as:

(a) Compensatory time and compensatory time off are interchangeable terms under the FLSA. Compensatory time off is paid time off the job which is earned and accrued by an employee in lieu of immediate cash payment for employment in excess of the statutory hours for which overtime compensation is required by section 7 of the FLSA. (29 CFR 553.22)

Can employees “volunteer” to work longer hours and not be paid?

No. Overtime eligible employees cannot “volunteer” to work longer hours without pay. They must be paid for all overtime (1.5 times regular pay) for all time worked above 40 hours within the work week in accordance with the FLSA and University of Alaska policy.

Can non-exempt employees have flexibility in their work hours?

Yes. Special or alternate scheduling is allowed within the same work week. For example, if you normally work 8 hours a day, and have a personal appointment on Monday that only allows you to work 6 hours, you and your supervisor can agree that you will make up the time later in the same workweek. Another example would be if your typical schedule is 8 hours a day during the day, and your department needs you to work a special event for 4 hours during the evening. Your schedule may be changed to give you 4 hours of time off at another time during the same workweek. Note: Special or alternate schedules must be within a single workweek.

Will I be paid overtime if my supervisor did not approve it?

Yes. If non-exempt employees perform work, they must be paid for it. However, supervisors have discretion to establish overtime approval processes. If an employee continues to work overtime without supervisor approval, then the supervisor could begin taking possible disciplinary action with the employee.

Does time spent answering emails or using a mobile phone for work outside of normal hours count towards overtime?

For non-exempt employees who respond to emails or calls outside of normal work hours or while on lunch breaks on a “regular” basis, that time is counted as work time for overtime purposes. If a non exempt person responds to emails or calls “very occasionally,” then court cases have considered that to be “de-minimis” and therefore not counted for overtime purposes. However, supervisors have discretion to establish overtime approval processes. If an employee continues to work overtime without supervisor approval, then the supervisor could begin taking possible disciplinary action with the employee.

What if I work on my lunch break?

Departmental lunch breaks, when unpaid, are at least 30 minutes (uninterrupted) and are scheduled by the department. During this time, a staff member cannot be required to continue to perform job duties unless he or she is paid for the work time. When the lunch period is a paid portion of the regularly scheduled work day, it can't exceed 20 minutes. In these cases, staff members are expected to eat lunch as time and work schedule permit.

Can a supervisor require overtime?

Yes, overtime can be required. Supervisors are encouraged to give as much notice as possible to staff members.

Can I waive overtime as a non-exempt employee?

No, employees don’t have the option of waiving the legal requirements.

Where can I get more information?

Complete information on the new rule is available from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fact-sheets/17a-overtime

Need additional help or have questions?

Please contact ua-compensation@alaska.edu for additional assistance.  

To contact other UA HR teams, please visit our Contact Us page at https://alaska.edu/hr/contact.php

 

Details

Article ID: 1192
Created
Wed 6/15/22 8:52 AM
Modified
Thu 1/18/24 4:02 PM