Frequently Asked Questions
The Department of Labor changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act impact many SSU staff members. Below are some common questions and helpful information about the changes and how they impact SSU.
What is changing?
The minimum salary requirement for staff to be in overtime exempt status will increase from $455/week to $913/week, or $47, 476 on an annual, full-time basis.
Is this change required?
Yes, this is a change to the federal regulations regarding overtime pay and is required by the federal government.
When will the changes take place?
The Department of Labor (DOL) set an implementation date of December 1, 2016; however, the USG has decided to implement the change before the DOL requirement to lessen the impact on those affected.
During this transition, because non-exempt staff may earn overtime, there will be a lag between the end of the biweekly pay period and receiving the paycheck; this is so all worked hours can be calculated properly.
What is exempt status versus non-exempt status?
Staff members who qualify for exempt status are not required to report their work time and are not subject to the FLSA overtime laws. Non-exempt staff members are required to report their work time and employers are subject to overtime payments or compensatory time for hours in excess of 40 worked hours per week.
Who is affected by this change?
Staff members who are currently paid on the biweekly payroll will not be impacted by this change. Some staff paid on the monthly payroll will be affected by these changes. If you are likely to be impacted, you will receive a letter from Human Resources explaining that you are likely to be affected by this change and you are encouraged to begin preparing.
Why the change to biweekly pay?
Per University System of Georgia policy, exempt employees are paid on the last working day of the month. Non-exempt employees are compensated on a bi-weekly schedule of 26 pay periods per year.
What determines exempt status?
First, the job responsibilities must qualify under the FLSA's duties test AND second, the minimum salary threshold of $913/week (or $47, 476 on annual, full-time basis) must be met. Where can I find information on the meaning of the "duties test"? The United States Department of Labor Hour and Wage Division Fact Sheet on Exemptions and Overtime Pay.
What is the difference between being paid monthly and biweekly?
Biweekly compensation is distributed 26 times during the year. Biweekly paychecks are 8-10 days after the last workday of the period (i.e., you will be paid December 9 for the November 17-30 work days). Additionally, each biweekly paycheck is less than half the equivalent monthly pay, as most months have more than 28 days. Two months normally have a third biweekly payday, making up this difference. This will occur in March and September of 2017.
Overtime & Compensatory Time
What is overtime?
Overtime is calculated when a non-exempt staff member exceeds 40 work hours in a work week. SSU uses a Saturday through Friday work week to determine overtime. DOL regulations typically require overtime to be paid at 1.5 times the employee's regular rate.
How do I earn overtime?
You must get approval from your supervisor prior to working overtime.
What is compensatory time?
DOL allows public sector employers (like SSU) to offer compensatory time in lieu of overtime payment to employees. Compensatory time is also calculated at 1.5 times; however, it is held for employees to use as leave time. For example, 4 hours of overtime equates to 6 hours of compensatory time.
Is there a limit on using compensatory time?
Yes. AS of January 1, 2017, approved compensatory time is subject to a maximum accumulation of 240 hours and must be expended by the end of the fiscal year.
What happens if I cannot use my compensatory time within the limits?
Supervisors should make every accommodation possible to use it within the limits, but if you cannot use your compensatory time within the limits, you may be paid the equivalent in overtime pay.
Are there alternatives for overtime and compensatory time?
Yes. Employers may elect to use flexible schedules to limit overtime. For example, you may need to travel 4 hours on Tuesday for work in another city. Your supervisor may flex your schedule (i.e., ask you to leave 4 hours early on Monday or come in 4 hours later on Wednesday) to keep your schedule within the standard 40- hour work week.
How will my time be tracked?
Your time will be tracked in the ADP system, SSU's system of record for time and attendance. Employees will use ADP by being paid from an assigned schedule, as determined by the department's customary practice.
What time is considered work time?
There are many variables to consider, but generally speaking, most time dedicated to tasks directly related to your official responsibilities at SSU will qualify as worked time and count toward your 40-hour standard workweek. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, "Hours of work include all time during which the employee is at an employer's disposal."
I travel frequently in my job. How should I track my travel time?
In general, any time spent traveling during your normal work hours is considered worked time. With that said, determining if travel time is compensable as worked time depends on a number of variables. For more information, see the United States DOL Fact Sheet #22 regarding travel: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs22.htm
What are the expectations for managers to track employee work hours?
Depending on the department's customary practice, employees may clock in and out or they can be "paid from schedule." Pay from schedule may be used by managers who prefer to set a weekly schedule of hours instead of using the minute-for-minute tracking of an employee signing in and out.
How flexible can managers be in creating daily work schedules to ensure proper staffing levels?
As long as they are adjusting schedules in a consistent and fair manner, managers may adjust schedules to accommodate the needs of their operations.
As a faculty member, am I affected by changes in FLSA?
Faculty members' wages are administered within FLSA policies. Included in these policies are limitations to some provisions for higher education. In particular, at SSU, Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, Lecturers, Instructors, and Public Service Professionals are not subject to the salary level requirements that affect other exempt employees. This is not a change in FLSA. For those faculty members who fall outside the job classifications listed above, to maintain an exempt status, you must earn $913 per week regardless of the amount of hours that you work. Therefore, if you earn less than this amount because you work part-time, you will be considered non-exempt and subject to the time-keeping requirement. This is an FLSA change.
I am a full-time faculty member with a contract but I do not make $913 per week. Will I receive a raise to reach the required level of compensation?
If you are a faculty member with a fully executed contract for Academic or Fiscal Year 2017 and a Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Lecturer, Instructor, or Public Service Professional, you are not subject to the salary requirements of FLSA, so your salary will not change. If you are a faculty member with a fully executed contract for Academic or Fiscal Year 2017 and do not hold one the previously listed titles and your salary is below the required threshold, your unit must move you to non-exempt status or raise your base salary to $35,607 per Academic Year or $47,476 per Fiscal Year respectively.
Does this mean I am no longer considered a professional staff member?
On the contrary, the University continues to place great value on the professional manner in which our staff perform their important roles and the many contributions our staff make to the success of this institution.
How will the new FLSA policy be interpreted with regard to professional development?
There should be no bearing on approved professional development as a result of the new FLSA regulations. This is simply an update that requires employers to pay their employees a certain way.
Do supervisors and employees have options for further review of a position if they disagree with the determination made?
Job classifications were determined to be exempt or non-exempt through a thoughtful examination of each job classification. These determinations have been set and will not change. If your position has been classified as being non-exempt and you believe your position meets the FLSA duties test as exempt, please contact your supervisor. Also contact your supervisor if you have been classified as exempt but believe your position should be non exempt, based upon your duties. To determine whether or not you are appropriately classified, your supervisor, through your unit's approval structure, will work with Human Resources to review your duties and current classification.
If I am changed to biweekly pay, what changes will happen with deductions from my last monthly paycheck and my future biweekly paychecks?
Your regular deductions will be taken from your last monthly paycheck. Beginning with your first biweekly paycheck, your deductions will be taken according to the biweekly pay deduction schedule. Health and welfare deductions (health insurance, etc.) are divided equally from the first 2 paychecks per month. View the biweekly pay deduction schedule EXCLUDING health and welfare benefits. You may contact Human Resources if you have questions about your benefits and non-benefits deductions.
What can I do to minimize the effects of this change?
You can review your annual leave balance to possibly take advantage of the one-time opportunity to cash out up to 48 hours of your unused annual leave. Read more about the voluntary annual leave cash-out option here: http://www.adp.com/tools-and-resources/calculators-and-tools/payroll-calculators/salary-paycheck-calculator.aspx You can attend a workshop on budgeting and planning for biweekly pay. See the Other Resources page on this web site to learn more about these budgeting and financial workshops. You may also visit the Paycheck Calculator page to find tools that will help in estimating your biweekly take home pay. During benefits open enrollment, you should review your current benefits choices to determine if you are choosing the most affordable coverage for you and your family.
Is it possible to change any of my deductions in consideration of this change? (i.e., federal withholding, state withholding, contributions, etc.)
Yes it is, but due to the complexity of this type of change, you should contact Human Resources to discuss possible options.
I am a part-time worker and my job duties are considered exempt. Will I have to enter the hours I work into ADP?
To maintain an exempt status, you must earn $913 per week regardless of the amount of hours you work. Therefore, if you earn less than this amount because you work part time, you will be considered non-exempt and subject to the time-keeping requirement. Unless you are exempt under the Higher Education Provision of the FLSA.