Fair Labor Standards Act

New Changes to the FLSA Exemption Rules

On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor announced changes to the FLSA overtime exemption rules. The minimum salary threshold required for an employee to be considered as exempt from overtime payment has changed. The current salary threshold is $455 per week or $23,660 annually and as of December 1, 2016, the new salary threshold will be $913 per week or $47,476 annually.

The University conducted an extensive audit of all employee job classifications and compared them against the new federal regulations. During this comprehensive review, Human Resources worked with University leadership to determine which positions no longer meet the criteria for exemption from FLSA regulations. Effective November 1st, 2016, these positions will change from exempt to non-exempt status.

Frequently asked questions are provided below. If you have questions, please contact Human Resources at 912-478-5529.

What is the FLSA?

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 establishes rules employers must follow relating to payment of overtime. Specifically, the FLSA requires non-exempt employees receive pay for all hours worked at overtime pay or compensatory time 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 does it mean to be exempt or non-exempt under the FLSA?

Exempt employees are employees who are ineligible for overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a work week. (A work week is a fixed seven consecutive calendar day period.) Exempt employees are expected to work as much time as is needed to complete work without an expectation of overtime or additional pay. As a result, exempt employees are paid on a salaried, not hourly, basis. In addition, in most cases (as discussed below), employees must perform certain types of duties, as defined in the FLSA, in order to be classified exempt and salaried.

The term non-exempt refers to employees who are not exempt from the federal overtime rules and will receive overtime pay or compensatory time for all hours worked over forty (40) in a work week. Due to overtime eligibility, non-exempt employees are paid on an hourly basis

How do I know if a position is exempt or non-exempt?

Under the FLSA, with a few limited exceptions (these exceptions are discussed in FAQ #4), exempt status is determined upon meeting all of the following tests:

  1. Salary Basis Test. The employee must be paid on an annual salary basis; and
  2. Minimum Salary Test. The FLSA’s minimum salary threshold is $913 per week or $47,476 annually; and
  3. Duty and Discretion Tests. The employee must perform duties that meet the U.S. DOL’s definition of an executive, administrative, professional, or computer professional. The duties and discretion tests are specific and are set forth in several fact sheets available on the U.S. DOL’s web site at: http://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/fact_sheets.htm.
What are the limited exceptions for exempt employees who do not have to meet all three of the above tests?

Physicians, lawyers, and employees whose primary duty is teaching meet the duties and discretion tests but who do not otherwise have to meet the FLSA minimum salary threshold to be considered exempt.

What is changing under the FLSA and when?

The FLSA “Minimum Salary Test” is changing. 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 annually. The final rule provides for future automatic updates to the salary and compensation levels every three years beginning January 1, 2020.

What are the consequences if the new FLSA regulations are violated?

Georgia Southern University could be fined by the U.S. Department of Labor.

What is the salary requirement for part-time salary employees?

Whether employees are full time or part time, the standard salary level to qualify for an exemption will be $913 per week. The salary level is not prorated for part time employees.

How is tracking work hours different for non-exempt employees?

Non-exempt employees will time stamp on a daily basis in ADP. They will be required to save and approve their time in ADP bi-weekly, adhering to the University System of Georgia and Georgia Southern University payroll deadlines.

Can supervisors provide cell phones for their non-exempt employees?

Yes, but any calls received after scheduled work hours must be accounted for through overtime or compensatory time.

Can non-exempt employees attend professional conferences?

Yes. Non-exempt employees must account for the hours of conference attendance and travel time.

Can employees work more than 40 hours one week and less than 40 hours the following week to avoid overtime or compensatory time?

Overtime is based on hours worked over 40 hours a week. Each work week stands alone. Averaging hours worked over two or more work weeks is not permitted by the FLSA. The work week begins on Saturday and ends the following Friday.

How is overtime or compensatory time applied?

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires non-exempt employees to report time worked and leave taken on a weekly basis. Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay at one and one-half (1 ½) times their hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours in a single work week. Compensatory time at one and one-half (1 ½) times an employee’s hourly rate may be granted in lieu of overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours. Annual leave, sick leave, and paid holidays observed by the University are not considered hours worked when calculating overtime or compensatory time.

Only student employees, temporary employees, Auxiliary Services employees, Facilities Services employees, and Public Safety employees will automatically be paid pre-approved overtime in lieu of compensatory time. The ADP system is configured so hours worked over forty (40) will be designated as comp time for all other employees. Exceptions must be pre-approved by the divisional Vice President. (eTime Policy, #2197)

How is compensatory time managed?

Pending Board of Regents approval, GSU anticipates a change in the current compensatory (comp) time policy to allow for the accrual of 240 hours of comp time annually. This time will appear in Comp Time banks for the employees’ useage. Under this new policy, accrued comp time must be expended by the end of the fiscal year (June 30). We anticipate this policy to take effect on November 1, 2016.

Currently, the compensatory time policy states all compensatory time will appear in a Comp Time bank for employees’ use. Approved compensatory time is subject to a maximum accumulation of sixty (60) hours and must be expended by the end of the succeeding calendar quarter.

Is prior approval required for overtime or compensatory time?

Yes. All overtime or compensatory time must be preapproved by the divisional Vice President. Overtime or compensatory time is computed on hours worked.

Will there be ADP/eTime training provided for supervisors and employees?

Yes. Classes will be available in September. Specific days and times will be provided via GSNEWS.

Last updated: 9/22/2016

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES • P.O. Box 8104 • Statesboro, Georgia 30460 • (912) 478-5468