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On Nov. 22 a federal judge blocked the implementation of the new rules Fair Labor
Standards Act regarding the exempt employee pay threshold. Human Resources will continue
to update our employees on the university's plan to comply with the new standards
as information is available. Timekeeping tools are available via the 'Tools for Supervisors'
link below and also on our FLSA Guide and Tools page availabe from the Compensation tab on our sidebar.
ETSU Faculty and Staff,
Over the course of the fall semester, we have spent a considerable amount of time and effort preparing for the new FLSA standards originally scheduled to take effect later this week. We conducted job audits on several positions; we held workshops on the new regulations; and many of you attended training sessions during the past month. I want to take a moment to thank the staff in our Human Resources department who have worked tirelessly to make the expected transition a smooth one here at East Tennessee State University. I also want to thank all of you who attended training sessions, as either affected employees or supervisors of those employees, to get a better understanding of the scope of these new regulations
As many of you know, a federal judge has filed an injunction to block the implementation of these new rules relating to overtime. We recognize the landscape surrounding the FLSA standards remains fluid at this time, and there continues to be significant uncertainty about what ultimately will be decided on the national level. Later today, Dr. David Collins, our Vice President for Finance and Administration, will be sending a communication to campus that will outline the technical aspects of our institution’s plans regarding the FLSA standards. However, I wanted to first let you know that, as a campus, we value our employees, and we intend to honor the commitments we made during this process as they relate to salary adjustments. We recognize that, due to the federal injunction, it would be within our rights to rescind these decisions, but that is not who we are as an institution. We will honor our commitments because we value each and every one of you.
I thank you for your patience as this situation continues to unfold.
Godspeed, and go Bucs,
On August 15, 2016 Dr. Noland communicated our plans to implement the new Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) federal regulations that were to be effective December 1, 2016. As many of you are aware, a federal court in Texas recently issued a preliminary injunction order that makes it uncertain how the FLSA’s overtime pay exemptions apply to employees who would have been impacted by the new regulations. Because of the court’s order, those regulations will not go into effect as expected on December 1, 2016. To ensure that we are adhering to federal policy under the FLSA, the university has revised our plans for implementation as follows:
Thank you again for all that you do for East Tennessee State University and for your continued patience as we navigate this difficult process. Please contact the Office of Human Resources at 439-5890 if you have additional questions or concerns.
David D. Collins
Vice President Finance and Administration
Q: What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?
A: The FLSA is the federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting most private and public employers. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division enforces the FLSA.
Q: What is the recent change in the FLSA that may affect my employment status at ETSU?
A: The U.S. Department of Labor has updated the FLSA’s “Overtime Rule” to strengthen overtime protections for employees. The Overtime Rule updates the salary level required for executive, administrative and professional (white collar) employees to remain exempt from the FLSA. To remain exempt an employee must meet all the same duties tests but must now earn a minimum of $47,476 per year. Under the old “Overtime Rule,” an employee was exempt from overtime provisions if they met all of the duties tests and were paid a minimum of $23,660 per year. Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime pay.
Q: I have heard that there are certain exceptions to the $47,476 per year salary requirement. Is that true?
A: Yes, the Department of Labor has identified two exemption statuses specifically for Higher Education Institutions. These exemptions include a Teacher exemption and an Academic Administrator exemption. These exemptions have definitive requirements that have been reviewed by our senior ETSU administrators to properly classify all affected positions.
Employees impacted by these exemptions will be notified after a thorough analysis has been completed. After that analysis, you may be designated to remain an exempt employee even if you don’t earn $47,476 because your job involves duties that meet the Teacher or Academic Administrator exemptions.
Q: I work part-time, does that affect the $47,476 per year salary requirement?
A: No, the FLSA does not make any provision for part-time employee salaries. The salary requirement for MODFY employees is prorated based upon the number of months the employee works.
Q: When do the new FLSA Regulations take effect?
A: December 1, 2016
Q: If I am reclassified from exempt to non-exempt status how do I complete my timesheet?
A: All non-exempt employees must complete their timesheets by recording actual hours worked in addition to recording leave taken.
Q: How can a non-exempt employee track the hours that they work while traveling for work?
A: The Wage and Hour Division has a free App for download at www.dol.gov/whd. The app helps employees track the hours that they work using a Smartphone. For employees without a Smartphone, the Wage and Hour Division has a printable work hours calendar to track rate of pay, work start and stop times, and arrival and departure times. Employees who use an Android device will find free Apps available for download on Google.
Q: What is considered work time while a non-exempt employee is traveling?
A: Determining work time while traveling can be difficult. The principles which apply in determining whether time spent in travel is compensable time depends upon the kind of travel involved. Please see the Travel Time Guidelines for Supervisors and the Travel Time Chart on this website for assistance.
Q: If I am reclassified from exempt to non-exempt status on December 1, 2016, am I a considered a clerical/support staff employee?
A: No, you will be classified as an administrative/professional non-exempt employee.
Q: If I am reclassified from exempt to non-exempt on December 1, 2016, will I have the same job description?
A: Yes, employees reclassified on December 1, 2016 to a non-exempt status will continue to perform their administrative/professional duties as currently assigned. However, these employees will become eligible for overtime payments.
Q: If I am reclassified from exempt to non-exempt, how will it affect my benefits and leave accrual?
A: We are pleased to announce that current employees who are reclassified to “administrative/professional non-exempt” will maintain at their current leave accrual rates (2 days annual leave and 1 day sick leave per month), as long as they remain in the same position, and will transfer their current leave balances as of December 1 to their new classification. All affected employees will remain in their current retirement system.
Q: Can I still teach Adjunct classes if I am a non-exempt employee?
A: Please review the new policy, PPP-83 Non-Exempt Employees Who Also Teach as Adjunct Faculty, that has been approved and is posted on the Policies and Procedures webpage.
Q: Will I be paid for working “on-call” during my off-duty hours if I am a non-exempt employee?
A: Non-exempt employees who are scheduled to be “on-call” and provide services during off-duty hours will be paid overtime pay or compensatory time for the actual hours worked. Whether the hours spent on-call is actually hours worked must be decided on a case-by-case basis. (Please see On-Call Time Guidelines for Supervisors for additional guidance.)
Q: Will I be paid if I am called back to work during an emergency if I am a non-exempt employee?
A: Yes. Please review the new section of PPP-05 Pay Procedures that has been approved an is posted on the Policies and Procedures webpage.
Q: How will vacant administrative/professional positions be advertised?
A: Effective September 1, 2016, newly advertised administrative/professional positions will clearly state that those positions not meeting the $47,476 salary threshold will be classified as administrative/professional non-exempt positions and will be eligible for non-exempt benefits.
Q: As a non-exempt employee do I need approval to work overtime?
A: Yes, you must have prior approval to work overtime. See PPP-05.
Q: My department can’t afford to pay me overtime; can I volunteer my time?
A: No, non-exempt employees cannot volunteer to perform their regular job duties.
Q: If a non-exempt employee chooses to eat their lunch at their desk and ends up answering the telephone a few times, do they need to be paid?
A: Yes, if the non-exempt employee is allowed to work, whether or not they are eating their lunch, it is paid work time. In order to be considered an unpaid break, the employee needs to leave the work area and /or perform absolutely no work for more than 20 minutes.
Q: May a non-exempt employee waive their rights to overtime compensation?
A: No, all non-exempt employees are compensated for all hours actually worked.
Q: Can the supervisor make a non-exempt employee leave early on Friday so the employee’s total hours of work will not exceed 37.5 hours?
A: Yes, this is one method to effectively manage work time and the personnel budget.
Q: I am a non-exempt employee and I receive emails, telephone calls and text messages
from students, my supervisor and other office staff after- hours. If I respond to
work-related e-mails, telephone calls and/or text messages after-hours do I get paid
for that time?
A: Yes, non-exempt employees who respond to work-related emails, telephone calls and text messages after-hours must be paid for the time they worked.
Q: I am a supervisor and I expect my non-exempt employees to handle work-related
e-mails, telephone calls and text messages after regular business hours. Do these
employees need to be paid for the time they work using their cell phones and computers
A: Yes, non-exempt employees who respond to work-related emails, telephone calls and text messages after-hours must be paid for the time they work. Supervisors need to monitor their need to communicate with non-exempt employees after-hours. Discuss with your employees what types of issues are priority and require their immediate response, and what issues can wait until regular work hours.
Questions: Session 1 - 11/7/16
Q: If I change positions in a lateral move will I be grandfathered in with my current leave accrual rate?
A: The grandfathering of leave accruals only occurs as long as the employee remains in their current position.
Q: If my job is audited will I lose my current leave accrual rate?
A: No, you would not lose the accrual rate if the position is audited
Q: What is the threshold for academic administrators?
A: The threshold for an academic administrator is the entry salary for a teacher at the institution. ETSU has established that amount as $25,000.
Q: If I am taking a class, how do I record my time in class on my timesheet?
A: Time spent in class (that is not a workshop or conference directly related to work) should be recorded as leave time.
Q: How is my hourly rate calculated?
A: You can calculate your hourly rate by dividing your annual salary by 1,950 hours.
Q: If I earn comp time at time and a half, do I get paid at out at time and a half?
A: When comp time is recorded it is automatically converted to the correct amount of hours. When comp time is paid out, it is paid at the current hourly rate.
Q: How does comp time affect longevity pay?
A: Please see PPP-15.
Q: If my job schedule is currently 7 to 6, do I just continue those hours and accumulate comp time?
A: That is a discussion to have with your supervisor.
Q: I travel to Knoxville and return in the same day. If I leave at 6:00 a.m. will I be compensated for the time between 6 and 8?
A: Yes. Please see the Travel guidelines.
Q: If a group of employees is traveling, do I get compensation for my time outside of the 8-4:30 timeframe?
A: If a group of employees are traveling outside of normal work hours, only the driver is compensated. Please see the travel guidelines.
Q: If I am in Athletics, am I compensated for travel to and from athletic games outside of the 8-4:30 timeframe?
A: Human Resources has met with Athletics Administration and guidelines have been established for recording time; please discuss recording time with your supervisor.
Q: How do departments handle time accrued across the fiscal year? Can we restrict overtime during certain times such as the end or beginning of the fiscal year?
A: Please see the attachment from Payroll.
Q: If I get an across the board increase that puts me over the exempt employee threshold, will my position be reclassified to exempt?
A: At this time, there are no plans to reclassify employees who reach the salary threshold through across the board increases.
Q: How does this change affect 12 month faculty and faculty that are split in faculty and administrative duties?
A: Faculty are exempt from the FLSA.
Q: Do I record my time if I check email after hours and weekends?
A: Yes, any time spent working should be recorded.
Q: If one of my employees is teaching as an adjunct, do I have to change their regular working hours?
A: No. Please see PPP-83
Q: Can we request a position be changed to exempt based on the cost of overtime?
A: HR will work with departments to decide if a change in status is appropriate after.
Q: If I work in a clinic and occasionally have to work through lunch, can I just leave early at the end of the day?
A: No. Lunch should be taken during a normal meal period. See PPP-05
Q: Are non-exempt employees required to take 15 minute breaks?
A: Most employees have the opportunity to take breaks as needed. A 15 minute break is only necessary when there is no opportunity for rest during the shift.
Q: Is overtime pay monthly?
A: When paid overtime is chosen, it is paid out on the next month’s paycheck.
Q: If a supervisor asks me to come in on the weekend but cannot pay me overtime, can I still come in (volunteer)?
A: No, employees cannot volunteer for their own position.
Q: How is work on holidays calculated/paid?
A: Please see PPP-05.
Q: If I work on Saturday, can I take a day off the next week to avoid working overtime?
A: The work week is Sunday at 12:00AM to Saturday at 11:59PM. If time is worked on Saturday it must be recorded on the timesheet. Compensatory time can be taken the following week.
Questions: Session 2 - 11/9/16
Q: Clarify overtime on a per week basis. Can you borrowing time from another week?
A: Overtime is calculated each week, based on the number of hours worked in that week. In order to earn overtime, you must work over 37.5 hours in the week. Time worked over 40 hours in a week is earned at a rate of 1.5 times the number of hours worked. Employees can use compensatory time banked after it has been earned.
Q: What if the person doesn’t have comp time on their current timesheet, but they
earn it during the pay period, can they use it in the same pay period?
A: Yes, an employee can bank compensatory time and take compensatory time earned in the same pay period. They do not have to have an existing bank from the previous pay period. However, the employee cannot take compensatory time off before it is earned.
Q: What are our options with comp time and paid overtime?
A: Earned overtime can be compensated in two ways: through pay or through compensatory time off. The method for overtime compensation is at the discretion of the supervisor, but should be communicated to the employee before the overtime is worked.
Q: Can you take paid overtime and annual/sick leave in the same week?
A: Yes, you can have overtime hours and annual/sick leave hours in the same week. You should not have overtime worked and annual/sick leave in the same day.
Q: Can you require employees to take time off during the same week they earn it?
A: Yes, the supervisor can require an employee to take compensatory time in the same week it is earned.
Q: Can employees work together to take their time off so not everyone is off at the
A: Yes, employees are encouraged to work with each other and their supervisor to ensure that services continue while still allowing employees to use their earned compensatory time.
Q: Do employees have to earn comp time before they can take it? What if they earn
it on a Friday or Saturday?
A: Yes, employees have to earn compensatory time before it is taken. If time is earned on a Friday or Saturday, then the time would be recorded on the timesheet as compensatory time banked, and would be available for the employee to use the following week.
Q: If you take annual/sick leave during the week, does that affect overtime?
A: Yes, taking annual and/or sick leave during week affects overtime. Accrued time worked shall include hours actually worked and holiday hours for the purposes of overtime calculation. Any hours other than the holiday hours and hours worked are excluded from overtime compensation.
Q: If I’ve earned enough comp time to take every Friday off for a month, would I still
have the same paycheck?
A: Yes, the paycheck would be the same.
Q: Comp time vs. Annual Leave, which is taken first?
A: If holiday time is available, it shall be used prior to compensatory time. In accordance with TCA § 8-50-801, when an employee requests annual leave and compensatory time is available, the compensatory time shall be used first, unless the accumulated annual leave balance at the beginning of the pay period is within two (2) days of the maximum accrual rate for the employee. If worked holiday time is available for exempt employees, it shall be used prior to annual leave. When an employee is within two (2) days of the maximum, annual leave may be used throughout the pay period. Any employee whose annual leave balance is not within the two (2) day maximum at the beginning of the pay period must use compensatory time during the entire pay period. Otherwise, the university will honor an employee's request for compensatory time off unless it would be unduly disruptive to the university's operations.
Q: If I live close to an off campus site and have an appointment at that off campus
site later during the day, do I have to drive all the way back to campus before I
go home, or can I just go straight home? How would mileage work?
A: No, the employee would not need to drive back to the primary work site before ending the workday. The employee would leave the off campus site and travel home. Mileage would not be paid for the travel to home since that is part of the normal commute to and from work.
Q: If I work an event 3 hours after 4:30pm, can the supervisor say whether I bank
those hours or have a flex schedule? Can I flex my schedule the same day vs. banking
comp time for the next day?
A: Yes, the supervisor can request the employee flex their schedule so that no overtime is earned for the day.
Q: Does a form need to be filled out for flex time every time, even on a per day basis?
A: If flex time is being used on a per day basis, some record of the flex time approval should be maintained within the department. If the flex-time form is not feasible, then some other means of documentation should be used.
Q: If an employee leaves early in the morning for a conference, but it only takes
half of the day to get to their destination, how do you count the rest of the time
spent in their hotel?
A: Time spent outside of the conference or meeting (e.g., employee goes sightseeing instead of attending a conference session, the conference sessions are only from 9a.m. to 3 p.m., etc.) is non-compensable.
Q: If you travel with multiple people for work, who gets paid?
A: Refer to the Non-Exempt Employee travel chart
Q: If an employee is sent on a work trip that is scheduled to end in three days, but
the employees opts to take annual leave and stay in the destination for an extra day,
is the time coming home after that extra day paid for?
A: The time spent traveling home would be considered compensable time if it occurs during normal work schedule.
Q: If you are a newly non-exempt employee, and take another non-exempt position, does
your grandfathering stay?
A: The grandfathering of leave accruals only occurs as long as the employee remains in their current position.
Q: Will I get a new time sheet, or will it stay the same?
A: The timesheets for non-exempt employees will include codes for overtime.
Q: Is there any way a supervisor can track their employee’s banked time?
A: Supervisors are encouraged to use the FLSA Calculators provided by Human Resources.
Questions: Session 3 - 11/10/16
Q: Adjunct – who’s responsibility is it to pay? Can the employee use a flex schedule for the semester they are teaching?
A: The hiring department is responsible for paying the adjunct contract. There is no financial impact on the home department of the non-exempt university employee who is also teaching as an adjunct faculty member. Yes, but a flextime schedule would have to be approved in writing by the home department supervisor prior to accepting an adjunct teaching position.
Q: If someone is regularly working a flex schedule, how often should you fill out a Flex Schedule Form?
A: HR recommends a Flex Schedule approval form be approved each semester.
Q: How should you deal with unexpected overtime?
A: Supervisors should discuss with their staff the process to be followed when an employee must work unexpected overtime. All overtime must be recorded.
Q: Do you have to work 40 hours before you earn time and a half? What if annual leave is used during the same week?
A: Any hours worked between 37.5 and 40 in a workweek must be compensated at additional
straight time (either by pay or compensatory time as determined by the supervisor.
Any hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek must be compensated at time and one-half (either by pay or compensatory time (“comp time”) as determined by the supervisor
Accrued time worked shall include hours actually worked and holiday hours for the purposes of overtime calculation. Any hours (annual and sick leave) other than the holiday hours and hours worked are excluded from overtime compensation.
Q: If someone stays after 4:30 to work on Staff Senate do you have to pay them for that time?
A: Pay Procedures PPP-05 states: Neither compensatory time nor overtime pay is authorized for attending meetings such as Staff Senate or physical plant advisory committee meetings. A condition of election to these bodies is that an employee's service is volunteered with no expected added compensation.
Q: Do you record your extra time as straight time or time and a half?
A: Actual hours worked should be recorded on the time sheet.
Q: If someone calls in sick and they have 3 hours of banked comp time, do they have to use the banked time before their sick leave?
A: The employee is not required to use their banked compensatory time before sick leave, but they may use compensatory time in lieu of sick leave.
In accordance with TCA § 8-50-801, when an employee requests annual leave and compensatory time is available, the compensatory time shall be used first, unless the accumulated annual leave balance at the beginning of the pay period is within two (2) days of the maximum accrual rate for the employee. If worked holiday time is available for exempt employees, it shall be used prior to annual leave.
Q: If an employee has no comp time or annual time, how do you record if they call in?
A: They will record the time as Sick Leave if they are sick. If they are calling in for emergency Annual Leave, they will record U for Leave Without Pay.
Q: Will comp time be available to view in Self-Service?
A: Leave balances are on the timesheet, in TRS and on the Leave Liability Report in Banner.
Q: Does the time on the timesheet include time and a half or does the employee have to calculate that?
A: Payroll completes all calculations and posts it correctly on the timesheet. The balance shown on the timesheet is the actual number of compensatory hours available for use.
Q: How do you record if an employee has a modified schedule, approved by Disability Services, if the schedule includes working from home?
A: The employee will record time-worked regardless of location.
Q: If someone is teaching an online class, as part of their regular job, and they check their class after hours, is that time recorded on a timesheet?
A: Since teaching the online class is part of their regular job (and not a separate Adjunct appointment), the employee would record all time-worked checking their class after hours as time-worked.
Q: Do you have to work from an office to gain comp time?
A: The employee will record time-worked regardless of location and with prior supervisory approval.
Q: Is there a way for supervisors to keep track of employees who are consistently earning and using comp time?
A: Please use the Weekly Overtime Estimator Worksheet with Compensatory Time Tracking (Excel Worksheet) to assist you in tracking time. See HR website, FLSA Tools for Supervisors.
Q: Can you enter more than one code per day on the TRS system?
A: Yes, the time recording system will allow you to enter Sick, Annual or Compensatory Time and Time Worked in one day.
Q: How can you track and record a job that has sporadic work hours as part of the nature of the job?
A: HR has created a spreadsheet to help you track work start- times and end- times throughout the day and week. Please see HR website, FLSA Tools for Supervisors, Week Time Worked Calculator (Excel Worksheet).
Questions: Session 4 - 11/16/16
Q: When does the comp time start when an employee is on call and is called back to work?
A: Compensable on call time begins when work begins. Commute time is not compensable.
Q: Clarification on restrictions during on call hours.
A: Please see HR website, Tools for Supervisors, On-Call Guidelines for Supervisors.
Q: Can you change the “standard work week” during the year according to busy times for the department?
A: The university is on a 37.5 hour workweek which begins at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday and ends at midnight on Saturday. You can change the days an employee works during the work week.
Q: Do the two “weekend” days during the week have to be together?
A: No, employees must work 37.5 hours from 12:01 a.m. on Sunday and ends at midnight on Saturday.
Q:What if there is no “standard work week”?
A: The university is on a 37.5 hour workweek which begins at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday and ends at midnight on Saturday. Days worked during the workweek may differ based upon workflow.
Q: If an employee takes a vacation, is it suggested they use comp time before they use their vacation time?
A: In accordance with TCA § 8-50-801, when an employee requests annual leave and compensatory time is available, the compensatory time shall be used first, unless the accumulated annual leave balance at the beginning of the pay period is within two (2) days of the maximum accrual rate for the employee. If worked holiday time is available for exempt employees, it shall be used prior to annual leave. When an employee is within two (2) days of the maximum, annual leave may be used throughout the pay period. Any employee whose annual leave balance is not within the two (2) day maximum at the beginning of the pay period must use compensatory time during the entire pay period. Otherwise, the university will honor an employee's request for compensatory time off unless it would be unduly disruptive to the university's operations.
Q: Is there anything different about how you record emergency closures?
A: No, please see PPP-66, Emergency Closure Policy.
Q: Can an Administrative non-exempt employee refuse overtime?
A: The Fair Labor Standards Act states that an employee does not have the right to refuse overtime.
Q: How to record time worked on a holiday/travel on a holiday?
A: If an employee is required to work on an official holiday, one hour off is given for each hour of "holiday" time worked and no overtime (1.5 times regular rate) would be involved (unless the workweek hours exceeded 40 hours). For non-exempt employees, holiday time worked is added to the employee’s compensatory time. Any available hours will be paid each September at the employee’s current rate of pay as stated above for compensatory time. Holiday time earned during the period September 1 – August 31 will be paid the last payroll of September if not otherwise used during the year in accordance with provisions of this policy. Accumulated worked holiday hours for exempt employees will be paid at the employee’s current rate of pay in September each year if not otherwise used during the year in accordance with the provisions of this policy.
Q: If out sick, can an employee use their comp time instead of sick leave?
Q: How do you know who is exempt?
A: Timekeepers will know who is exempt when they enter time into the TRS system. Exempt employees are not eligible for compensatory or overtime compensation.
Timekeeping for Non-Exempt Employees and Their Supervisors (Recording from 11/28/2016 Webinar)
iPhone-compatible app for recording time: https://www.dol.gov/whd Instructions: https://www.dol.gov/whd/pdf/timesheetApp.pdf -
This is a free timesheet app developed by the Department of Labor for use on the iPhone and iPod Touch. For timekeeping apps for Android and other platforms, seach the Google Play Store.
United States Department of Labor https://www.dol.gov/whd/
Wage and Hour Division, Compliance Assistance – Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) https://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/
Please review revisions to the following policies that can be access via the Policies and Procedures webpage.
PPP-02 Employment Classification
PPP-05 Pay Procedures
PPP-83 Non-Exempt Employees Who Also Teach as Adjunct Faculty (NEW POLICY)