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Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Frequently Asked Questions

With the recent changes to the exemption status of a number of our staff employees, there are some key things for employees and supervisors to remember. Below is a list of frequently asked questions to help keep everyone informed.

General FLSA questions

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, distinguishes between covered (non-exempt) and excluded (exempt) employees, overtime threshold (40 hours in a week), overtime pay, record keeping requirements, and youth employment standards for employees in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments.

What does it mean to be exempt or non-exempt?

Exempt employees are excluded from overtime payment. Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime. Exemption is based the “primary duties” of the position and qualifying for all three of the following tests:

  • Duty and Discretion Tests
    • Employee must qualify as an Executive, Administrator, Professional or Computer Professional.
  • Salary Basis Test
    • Employee must be paid on an annual salary basis.
  • Minimum Salary Threshold Test
    • Employees must be paid above a salary threshold amount that is currently $455 per week or $23,660 annually.
What is the Standards Duties Test?

More information about the FLSA and overtime exemptions is available on the Department of Labor’s website.

What does this mean for me?

If you are in a position that is evaluated and determined to be non-exempt, you will become eligible to earn overtime wages or compensatory time at the rate of time-and-one-half if you work over 40 hours during a given workweek. The university’s work week is Saturday at 12 a.m. through midnight Friday. Overtime hours must be pre-approved by your supervisor prior to working the hours.

My job title is manager. Am I exempt from overtime pay?

You must meet the standards of the exemption tests based on the “primary duties” of your position regardless of your job title. For an exemption to apply, a white-collar employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all of the applicable requirements provided in the United States Department of Labor (DOL) regulations. Accordingly, the duties test must be met even if the employee’s salary exceeds the standard salary level of $455 per week or $23,660 annually.

Time recording questions

How should actual hours worked be recorded?
Non-exempt employees must accurately report all hours worked and any leave taken during each university work week in one of the time/leave recording systems (i.e. the Leave and Time Worked Reporting System, TimeClock Plus, or paper form). Departmental leave representative can provide guidance on which method the department uses as the source of record. Each non-exempt employee is responsible for ensuring that all time worked and leave taken are accurately reflected on their timecard; and the timecard must be approved by the employee and supervisor by the established leave or payroll approval deadlines depending on the time keeping system being used. Failure to approve the timecard by the established deadline may jeopardize on-time processing and receipt of pay or compensatory leave.
Is a lunch break required for overtime-eligible employees?

Per University Policy 4300: Hours of Work, “Employees working at least six consecutive hours shall be afforded, at a minimum, a 30-minute meal break. However, employee meal breaks shall not exceed 60 minutes a day. The meal break shall not be included in either the attendance or the hours of work per day, except when the employee is not completely free of all duties during the meal break."

Are overtime-eligible employees entitled to breaks and rest periods?

Department heads, at their discretion, may grant employees working an eight-hour day, a maximum of one break before the meal break and one break after the meal break. These rest breaks are included within the total required hours of work and shall not exceed 15 minutes each.

Will newly overtime-eligible employees have to record their hours on a daily basis or “punch a time clock”?

The FLSA requires that employers keep certain records for each non-exempt worker. That is so workers can be sure they are paid the wages they earn and are owed. Each department will establish the timekeeping method they deem most appropriate for their operational needs (in accordance with applicable FLSA regulations and university policies).

Does the FLSA allow for a flexible schedule for overtime-eligible employees? Can employers still allow employees to work from home or have flexible schedules?

The FLSA does not set forth these types of stipulations. Each department determines and establishes policies and procedures (in accordance with applicable FLSA regulations and university policies) as deemed appropriate in support of the departments’ needs.

Travel questions for overtime-eligible employees

How is travel time paid for non-exempt employees who go out of town for work?

Generally, travel away from home is considered work time when it cuts across the employee’s normal workday. This includes hours worked on regular working days during normal working hours as well as corresponding hours on nonworking days.

More information

Time reporting questions

Who approves submitted hours?

For units using the Electronic Leave System, a manager/supervisor will approve time on a monthly basis in accordance with the established leave approval deadlines. System user and approver information may be found in the Resource Guide:

For units using TimeClock Plus, a manager/supervisor will approve an employee’s time at minimum on a semi-monthly basis in accordance with the established payroll deadlines.

What is considered overtime?

Overtime-eligible employees are paid overtime for hours worked over 40 hours in the workweek.

How is overtime calculated?

Overtime is calculated based on the workweek. The university’s work week is Saturday 12 a.m. through midnight Friday.

What is considered a workweek?

A seven (7) day period in which the required working hours for full-time employees equal forty (40) hours, with distribution of such hours during the workweek a matter of scheduling left to the individual departments.

How is overtime calculated during a holiday week?

Overtime is paid on actual hours worked. That means paid hours that are not actually worked, such as vacation, sick, and holiday pay do not count toward being paid overtime.

If I work part-time, how many hours do I have to work to get paid overtime?

According to state and federal law, overtime begins after an overtime-eligible employee has worked in excess of 40 hours in the workweek; there are no adjustments or pro-rations if someone works less than 40 hours.

If I work more than 40 hours in a workweek, how is overtime pay calculated?

Overtime is calculated at one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.

Do I need to get approval from my supervisor to work more than 40 hours?

Yes, you always need to get approval from your manager/supervisor in advance if you plan or need to work more than 40 hours in a workweek to meet the expectations of your job.

What happens if I work overtime and don’t obtain prior approval from my manager/supervisor?

You will be paid for time worked in accordance with applicable regulations; however, you and your manager should discuss your work schedule prior to working any overtime. Failure to obtain approval in advance of working overtime may result in disciplinary action.

Do I need to report hours worked outside of my normal work schedule?

Yes. If you are a non-exempt employee, you must report all hours worked including nights or weekends if they are outside of your normal work schedule and location. Employees should work with their supervisor to determine if Virginia Tech applications should be accessed when working outside of their normal work schedule.

What if I work from home?

If you are a non-exempt employee working from home, you must report all hours worked, regardless of where or when they are worked in relation to your “normal” workday.

Can I still have a flextime schedule?

If you and your supervisor agree to a flextime schedule, you can continue to work a flextime schedule upon mutual agreement between you and your supervisor. As a non-exempt employee, you must report all hours worked within a workweek, and you will be paid accordingly.

Can I offer to work on my own time without any expectation of payment?

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

Can an employee decide to waive payment of overtime?

No, the overtime requirement may not be waived under any circumstances due to federal guidelines.

Pay questions

How do I calculate my hourly pay?

To calculate my hourly pay, will need the number of work hours in a year:

  • 40 hour workweek x 52 weeks in a year = 2,080 work hours in a year

Next

  • Divide your annual salary by 2,080 (number of work hours in a year)
  • Example: $30,014.40 divided by 2,080 = $14.43 per hour
How can I calculate what my new bi-weekly check will be before taxes?

If full-time, multiply your hourly rate by 80 (two weeks in a pay period x 40 hours in each workweek). 

  • Example: $14.43 x 80 = $1,154.00
When are non-exempt salary employees paid?

Non-exempt salary employees are paid in accordance with the university’s salary payroll schedule on a semi-monthly pay schedule (24 pay period per calendar year). The Salary Payroll Schedule is available online.

Does the change overtime eligible status affect my direct deposit status?

You will not need to change your direct deposit information as part of this change. Any direct deposit authorizations you have set up will continue after your pay frequency changes.

Deduction questions

Will transitioning to overtime eligible status affect my supplemental retirement contributions?

No. If you are signed up to have money deducted from your check for a supplemental retirement account, these deductions will continue. 

Will the overtime eligible status affect my leave accruals/banks?

No. You will continue to earn the same sick, annual, compensatory accrual rates per your years of service. Leave accruals post in the Electronic Leave System after each pay period on the 10th and 25th of each month.