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Frequently Asked Questions about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Overtime Rules

These FAQs help address many of the questions associated with overtime eligibility, compensation, work time and documentation for employees and supervisors. These FAQs, and the accompanying resources on our website, will continue to be updated as needed. 

Additionally, you can visit the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division; Frequently Asked Questions about the Final Rule: Overtime

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What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. The Department of Labor (DOL), the agency which interprets and enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), oversses regulations defining the type of the employee who is eligible for overtime (non-exempt employee) and the type of employee who is not eligible for overtime (exempt employee). Tarleton is obliged to comply with all FLSA provisions.

What do the terms “Exempt” and “Non-Exempt” mean?

The status of “exempt” and “non-exempt” under FLSA determines whether an employee earns overtime or compensatory time for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per work week. Employees who are exempt from the requirements of this law do not earn overtime or compensatory time and are paid a monthly salary at Tarleton regardless of the number of hours worked. Employees who are non-exempt from the requirements of FLSA are eligible for overtime pay or compensatory time for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

How is exemption determined?

Under the regulations, there are two sets of tests that must be passed to be considered exempt from FLSA. The first is a duties test to determine the whether a position’s duties primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties as defined by the regulations. The second is a salary test. Currently that salary test is a minimum threshold of $23,660 per year.

Are there exceptions to the salary threshold for exemption?

Yes. Certain professional positions, such as teachers, doctors, veterinarians and lawyers, do not have to meet the salary threshold to be considered exempt. This teaching exemption applies to faculty titles and others such as Graduate Assistant-Teaching. Graduate Assistants-Research are also in a special category due to being engaged in research in the course of obtaining an advanced degree under the supervision of a faculty member.

Do the regulations allow for special exemption of research positions?

No. Research positions must meet the job duties tests and salary threshold to be exempt.

Who applies the tests to determine exemption status for titles/positions at Tarleton?

Employee Services has historically been responsible for reviewing position classifications to determine exemption status at the title or position level, as well as monitoring compliance with the minimum salary threshold and position description content. With the December 1 implementation of new System-wide Pay Plan and a single title listing used by all Texas A&M System Members, the process now involves collaboration with other System HR offices, the Pay Plan Administration committee and final decisions by the System Pay Plan Administrator for consistency. Some titles that have traditionally met the exemption tests at Tarleton are being changed to non-exempt as a result of this collaboration and analysis, with a focus on applying the regulations consistently across all System Members. Employee Services will continue to review submitted position descriptions for compliance with the title’s exemption status as well as monitor the minimum salary threshold for exempt positions.

What does bona fide white collar exempt employees mean?

The FLSA's current white collar exemptions exclude certain executive, administrative, and professional employees from federal minimum wage and overtime requirements. Certain computer professionals and outside sales employees are also excluded from these requirements. A "duties test" is required to determine this type of exemption from overtime rules. The Department of Labor (DOL) is not proposing any specific changes to the standard duties tests already in place. Note that some exemptions must meet both the salary threshold AND the duty requirements.

EXEMPTION

REQUIREMENTS

Executive

• Must meet the minimum salary threshold

• Primary duty of managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise

• Must supervise 2 full-time employees or equivalent

Administrative

• Must meet the minimum salary threshold

• Primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance

Academic Administrative Exemption

• Must meet either: (1) the minimum salary threshold; or (2) a salary equal to the entrance salary for teachers in the same institution

• Primary duty of performing administrative functions directly related to academic instruction or training in an educational establishment

Professional

• Must meet the minimum salary threshold

• Primary duty is the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge that is predominantly intellectual in character and includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment

Teaching Exemption

• Not required to meet the minimum salary threshold

• Primary duty is teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge

• Employed and engaged in the performance of the primary duty in an educational establishment

How does the halt in new regulations affect someone in a position that is already non-exempt?

The halt in the regulation changes do not affect positions that are already non-exempt. These employees remain eligible for overtime and will need to continue ensuring their weekly hours are documented. This includes Graduate Assistant positions that are already considered non-exempt.

All supervisors and employees should use this opportunity to familiarize themselves with current A&M System overtime regulation and Tarleton University procedures. These procedures may be changing soon to require all non-exempt employees to be placed on a bi-weekly pay schedule and keep official documentation of their hours through TimeTraq.

What do I need to know about TAMUS and Tarleton current overtime regulation and procedure?

Please refer to both Tarleton SAP and System Regulation for detailed information regarding workweek, pay periods, hours worked, FLSA overtime, State overtime, and compensatory time.

Tarleton Standard Administrative Procedure-Overtime

Texas A&M System Regulation-Overtime

What is the difference between FLSA, State and Holiday Comp Time?

FLSA comp time is earned whenever you work more than 40 hours in a workweek where paid leave and holidays do NOT counted toward that 40 hour total.
State comp time is earned whenever the total of your hours of work AND paid leave is greater than 40.
Holiday comp time is earned whenever you work on a holiday at your supervisor's request.

Each type of comp time is accrued, used, and limited under different circumstances. TAMUS provides a resources that explains the key features of each type of comp time:

Texas A&M System Resource: Key Features of FLSA, State, and Holiday Comp Time

What is considered "Work Time?"

Understanding Work Time

Suffered or Permitted- Work not requested but suffered or permitted to be performed is work time that must be paid for by the employer. For example, an employee may voluntarily continue to work at the end of the shift to finish an assigned task or to correct errors. The reason is immaterial. The hours are work time and are compensable.

Waiting Time-Counted as hours worked when Employee is unable to use the time effectively for his or her own purposes; and Time is controlled by the employer; Not counted as hours worked when Employee is completely relieved from duty; and Time is long enough to enable the employee to use it effectively for his or her own purposes. Whether waiting time is hours worked under the Act depends upon the particular circumstances. Generally, the facts may show that the employee was engaged to wait (which is work time) or the facts may show that the employee was waiting to be engaged (which is not work time). For example, a secretary who reads a book while waiting for dictation or a fireman who plays checkers while waiting for an alarm is working during such periods of inactivity. These employees have been "engaged to wait."

On-Call Time-On-call time is hours worked when Employee has to stay on the employer’s premises; Employee has to stay so close to the employer’s premises that the employee cannot use that time effectively for his or her own purposes; On-call time is not hours worked when Employee is required to carry a pager; Employee is required to leave word at home or with the employer where he or she can be reached.

Meal and Rest Periods-Meal periods are not hours worked when the employee is relieved of duties for the purpose of eating a meal; Rest periods of short duration (normally 5 to 20 minutes) are counted as hours worked and must be paid.

Training Time-Time employees spend in meetings, lectures, or training is considered hours worked and must be paid, unless (following 4 criteria are met); Attendance is outside regular working hours; Attendance is voluntary; The course, lecture, or meeting is not job related; The employee does not perform any productive work during attendance.

Travel Time-Ordinary home to work travel is not work time; Travel between job sites during the normal work day is work time; Special rules apply to travel away from the employee’s home community.

Home to Work on a Special One Day Assignment in Another City: An employee who regularly works at a fixed location in one city is given a special one day assignment in another city and returns home the same day. The time spent in traveling to and returning from the other city is work time, except that the employer may deduct/not count that time the employee would normally spend commuting to the regular work site.

Travel Away from Home Community: Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight is travel away from home. Travel away from home is clearly work time when it cuts across the employee's workday. The time is not only hours worked on regular working days during normal working hours but also during corresponding hours on nonworking days.

Sleep Time-Less than 24 hour duty; Employee who is on duty for less than 24 hours is considered to be working even if allowed to sleep or engage in other personal pursuits; Duty of 24 hours or more-Parties can agree to exclude bona fide sleep and meal periods.

 

Can non-exempt employees work overtime whenever they believe it is required to get the job done?

No.  Overtime must be approved in advance by the supervisor. The supervisor may also adjust the schedule within the same work week to manage overtime and hour necessary to get the job done.

Can a non-exempt employee offer to work on their own time without any expectation of payment?

No, non-exempt employees must be compensated for all hours actually worked.

Can a supervisor make adjustments in the schedule before overtime occurs?

A supervisor may adjust the schedule within the same work week in anticipation of and before over time has been worked. However, a supervisor may not avoid overtime by adjusting the schedule in a different work week.

What do I need to know about current flexible work schedule rules?

Understanding Flexible Work Schedules

A flexible work schedule is an alternative to the traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour work week. It allows employees to vary their arrival and/or departure times. Under some policies, employees must work a prescribed number of hours a pay period and be present during a daily "core time." The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not address flexible work schedules. Alternative work arrangements such as flexible work schedules are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative). 

Please additionally refer to both Tarleton Rule and System Regulation for detailed information regarding flexible work arrangements

Tarleton Rule-Alternate Work Schedules for Full-time Staff (Non-faculty) Employees

Texas A&M System Regulation-Flexible Work Arrangements

Does Tarleton offer training to supervisors and employees regarding overtime and compensation?

Yes. The Texas A&M System offers Train Traq modules regarding overtime and compensation issues for employees and supervisor. tou will log in to https://sso.tamus.edu and from the SSO Menu, choose TrainTraq. Locate the “Course Catalog” tab, and enter one of the courses numbers below. 

2112755: Comp Time Issues for Employees

2112756: Comp Time Issues for Supervisors

TrainTraq has more to offer than only the System and University required online training modules assigned to you.  Feel free to select and take other online courses for your personal and professional development.  Each online course you complete will appear on your personal training transcript. You may select “Online” for Course Type, click on “Search” and TrainTraq will list over two dozen pages of online course offerings.

Where can I find resources on the FLSA, overtime rules, Tarleton procedures and A&M System policy?

Federal Register; A Rule by the Wage and Hour Division: Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees
Complete detail and history of the final rule

Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division; Frequently Asked Questions about the Final Rule: Overtime
An exhaustive list of FAQs regarding overtime regulations

Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division; Questions and Answers from the General Information Overtime Webinars
FAQs regarding the NEW overtime rules

Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division; Guidance for Non-Profit Organizations on Paying Overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act
A white paper on the impact of the NEW overtime rules on non-profit organizations

Department of Labor; Wage and Hour Division); Guidance for Higher Education Institutions on Paying Overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act
A white paper on the impact of the NEW overtime rule son colleges and universities

Department of Labor; Overtime Final Rule and Higher Education
A brief on the NEW overtime rules and higher education considerations

Department of Labor; Wage and Hour Division; A Comprehensive PowerPoint Presentation on the FLSA
Informative overview in presentation format of FLSA and its provisions

Department of Labor; Wage and Hour Division; Compliance Assistance - Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
A comprehensive collection of tools and interpretive guidance regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act

Department of Labor; Wage and Hour Division; Overtime Pay
A comprehensive collection of tools and interpretive guidance regarding overtime regulation

Department of Labor; Flexible Schedules
A series of articles regarding flexible schedules and guiding regulation

Department of Labor; Wage and Hour Division; Fact Sheets
An exhaustive list of published factsheets related to Wage and Hour Division topics

Tarleton Standard Administrative Procedure-Overtime
Tarleton's guiding procedure and responsibility for managing overtime

Texas A&M System Regulation-Overtime
TAMUS's guiding regulation on overtime

Tarleton Rule-Alternate Work Schedules for Full-time Staff (Non-faculty) Employees
Tarleton's guiding rule on alternate work schedules

Texas A&M System Regulation-Flexible Work Arrangements
TAMUS's guiding regulation on flexible work arrangements

Texas A&M System Resource: Key Features of FLSA, State, and Holiday Comp Time
TAMUS's published resource summarizing key features and differences between the three types of compensatory time

College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR); FLSA Overtime Regulations Updates, News and Resources
A comprehensive collection of resources from the leading association of college and university HR professionals

Society for Human Resource Management; FLSA Overtime Rule Resources
A comprehensive collection of resources from an HR-industry leader

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; White Paper: Understanding The Potential Impact of the DOL’S Proposed New Overtime Rule on Private Colleges and Universities
A white paper detailing potential impacts of the new overtime rules related to private colleges and universities

U.S. Department of Labor Blog; Behind the Myths: The Truth About Overtime
An informative Department of Labor blog

HOW DO I DOCUMENT AND SUBMIT MY OVERTIME HOURS?

CLICK HERE for the Weekly Report for Compensatory Time Earned form.

CLICK HERE for the Weekly Report for Compensatory Time Earned form instructions.

If you have any questions about the information compiled here, please contact Wendy Haynes, Manager of Compensation and Recruitment at (254) 968-9694