Stephen F. Austin State University

Fair Labor Standards Act

A federal court has issued a preliminary injunction halting the implementation of changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) pending further review.

Due to payroll and timekeeping deadlines, the electronic personnel action forms (EPAF) changing identified employees from exempt to non-exempt were already processed. Since changing an employee's designation from an exempt to a non-exempt employee does not impact their salary nor violate the current requirements of the FLSA , the change will remain in effect.

The EPAFs raising the salaries of another group of employees to meet the threshold of an exempt employee's salary under the new FLSA rules had not been processed. Therefore, the increase to the employees' salary will not go into effect at this time.

We will continue to monitor the events and announcements relating to changes to the FLSA and comply with those changes as needed. We will provide you with updates as we receive them.

Common Questions from Employees

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was created in 1938 and has been amended multiple times since. The FLSA is one of the largest employment regulations businesses have to work under. It regulates minimum wage, overtime, hours worked, youth employment, and recordkeeping requirements. By default, minimum wage and overtime rules apply to every employee - except those expressly identified as exempt within the regulation.

How is the Fair Labor Standards Act changing?

In 2014, President Obama directed the Department of Labor to update the regulations defining which white collar workers are protected by the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime standards. There are two main tests for "white collar" exemptions: 1) salary test and 2) primary duties test. The final rule (published May 18, 2016) focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative, and Professional workers to qualify for an exemption.

Key Provisions of the Final Rule

1. Raises the salary threshold from $455 a week ($23,660/year) to $913 a week ($47,476 annualized).

2. The salary threshold will automatically update every three years starting January 1, 2020.

3. The Final Rule did not make any changes to the primary duties test.

4. Effective date is December 1, 2016.

When will affected positions transition from exempt to non-exempt?

The effective date of the regulation change is December 1, 2016. SFA will implement the transition effective November 26, 2016, which is the first day of the workweek that includes December 1.

Will my salary or leave accruals change if I transition to non-exempt?

No. Your rate of pay will not change and you will continue to be paid monthly on a salaried basis. Your leave accruals and longevity pay will not be impacted by the change.

What will happen to my comp time balance?
Employees transitioning from exempt to non-exempt will maintain their comp time balance. These employees will not receive payment upon termination for any compensatory time earned as an exempt employee.
Does changing to non-exempt mean I'm not a professional anymore?

No. This change will in no way adversely reflect on the level or value of your work or your importance to the university.

Overtime Compensation

What constitutes overtime?
When hours worked in a workweek (Saturday - Friday) exceed 40, those excess hours are eligible for compensatory time at 1.5 times your regular rate.
What is the difference between equivalent comp time (1.0) and FLSA comp time (1.5)?

FLSA compensatory time (1.5) is earned for every hour physically worked over 40 in a workweek. If an employee records more than 40 hours in a workweek, but some of that time was paid leave (sick, vacation, holiday, etc.), equivalent comp time (1.0) is earned.

Is there a maximum balance for comp time?

Yes. The maximum comp time balance is 240 hours (480 for commissioned police officers). Employees must be paid for all overtime in excess of this threshold.

See the 12.14 Overtime and Compensatory Time policy for more information.

What is the difference between the comp time exempt positions earn versus non-exempt positions?

Employees in exempt positions are only eligible to earn equivalent compensatory time (1.0), regardless of how many hours they physically work in a workweek. Exempt staff are limited to using a maximum of 80 hours of earned comp time in any one fiscal year and unused comp time expires after 12 months. Upon separation, comp time balances for exempt staff are dissolved.

Employees in non-exempt positions are eligible to earn both equivalent comp time (1.0) and FLSA comp time (1.5). As long as the time is available, there is no limit on the amount of comp time non-exempt staff are allowed to use. Comp time balances are paid out when non-exempt staff separate employment or transition to an exempt position.

See the 12.14 Overtime and Compensatory Time policy for more information.

Does a supervisor have to approve overtime?

Yes. Overtime for non-exempt employees must be approved in advance by the employee's supervisor. The supervisor may also adjust an employee's schedule within the same workweek to manage overtime. The workweek is Saturday - Friday.

Does an employee earn overtime if they work more than 8 hours in a day?

Not necessarily. Overtime is earned when an employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek. The employee's normal work schedule is not considered when calculating overtime.

Documenting Time Worked

How do non-exempt staff record their hours worked?

All non-exempt staff are required to report hours worked via the university's electronic timekeeping system (TimeClockPlus). Each department head will determine the most appropriate method to report hours for their staff. Options include: clocking in and out, reporting daily hours as a timesheet entry, or submitting paper timesheets to a designee for TCP entry.

See the 11.30 Time Reporting for Non-Exempt Employees policy for more information.

Where can employees find information about entering time in TimeClockPlus?
For additional information about entering time in TimeClockPlus, see the Employee Time Clock Actions and Employee Dashboard reference guides.
Where can supervisors find information about approving time in TimeClockPlus?

For additional information about approving time in TimeClockPlus, see the Manager Training Package.

What is a supervisor's timekeeping responsibility?

Supervisors should ensure that their non-exempt employees seek approval for any overtime worked, that all time worked and leave taken is reported in the timekeeping system, and that comp time balances are monitored to ensure they do not become unmanageable.

What should an employee do if he or she is not set up in TimeClockPlus at the time of the transition?
If an employee is not set up in TimeClockPlus at the time of the transition, he or she should keep a record of time worked. This time should then be entered into TimeClockPlus once the employee is properly set up.

Managing Hours Within a Workweek & Alternative Work Schedules

What options do supervisors have to meet departmental demands while limiting overtime hours?

To support operational efficiencies, department heads may approve the use of alternative work schedules such as compressed work weeks, flexible schedules, and staggered work hours.

See the 12.24 Working Hours and Holidays policy and the Human Resources webpage for more information.

Can a supervisor make adjustments in an employee's schedule before overtime occurs?

Yes. A supervisor may adjust an employee's schedule within the same workweek before overtime has been worked. If an employee works more than their scheduled shift in one day, a supervisor may require him or her to work fewer hours on another day in the same workweek to avoid overtime.

Additional Resources

You can find out more information about the standards from the Department of Labor using the following links:

Overtime Final Rule and Higher Education
Frequently Asked Questions: FLSA Overtime
Fact Sheet #22 - Hours Worked Under the FLSA (DOL)
Fact Sheet #17A - Defining Exemptions Under the FLSA (DOL)