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Compensation FAQs

FLSA Update

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What is the most recent information on the FLSA Overtime Rule?

The following notification was released to all faculty and staff by the Vice President for Finance and Support Services on November 21, 2016:

Dear Members of the University Community:
A federal court in Texas has issued an order that makes it uncertain how the FLSA’s overtime pay exemptions apply to employees who would be impacted by the new rules that were to go into effect on December 1. Because of the court’s order, those rules will not go into effect as expected. To ensure that
we are able to follow the laws that govern how employees are paid under the FLSA, we have revised our plans and will be delaying the implementation of any changes at this time.

This rule would have impacted an estimated 4 million workers nationwide, including approximately 300 staff here at Texas State.

In light of this injunction, we will delay making any employee classification or FLSA overtime status changes at this time pending a final ruling by the federal court system or action by the Department of Labor.

If you were one of the 300 employees notified by letter earlier this week of a classification or FLSA overtime status, no further action is required on your part and you can disregard the letter received from Human Resources. Those changes will not be made at this time and nothing about your classification,
overtime exempt status, or timekeeping practices will change.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Jeff Lund in Human Resources at email jl21@txstate.edu or 512.245.2557.

Sincerely,
Eric Algoe
Vice President for Finance and Support Services


Compensable Travel Time

These are the questions that HR has received in the past.

I have a staff member who went to a conference this week and traveled by plane yesterday to return home. Her plane got delayed and she did not arrive home until 8:30 p.m. If she normally works 8-5 does she get to claim 3.50 as additional hours worked?

If you travel during your normal work hours it will be counted as work time. Also, if you travel during what is considered your normal work hours on weekends and holidays it will also count as work time. Travel during other times is not considered work time.

For example, your normal work schedule is 8 – 5 Monday – Friday. You can claim work time for travel between 8 – 5 any day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday.

The additional 3.5 hours would not be claimed.

How are we to enter time when a staff member is on overnight travel? How are they to enter this time since it goes over 8 hours (overnight)? Do they enter time normally as if they were in the office?

Yes, they would enter their time normally as if they were in the office. If you travel during your normal work hours it will be counted as work time. Also, if you travel during what is considered your normal work hours on weekends and holidays it will also count as work time. Travel during other times is not considered work time.

For example, your normal work schedule is 8 – 5 Monday – Friday. You can claim work time for travel between 8 – 5 any day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday.

The employee cannot claim any hours outside of those in the example unless they were actually working those hours.

Would you please let me know how we need to report our time when we travel on a weekend to a site where we need to meet for business the next day? Do we report that time? If so, how do we determine the number of hours?

If you travel during your normal work hours it will be counted as work time. Also, if you travel during what is considered your normal work hours on weekends and holidays it will also count as work time. Travel during other times is not considered work time.

For example, your normal work schedule is 8 – 5 Monday – Friday. You can claim work time for travel between 8 – 5 any day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday.

Exception For Driving – If you are going to be out of town more than one day and you are driving, the drive time from portal to portal is considered compensable time. Co-workers riding as passengers are not eligible for the driving exception unless they are actually working.

An employee traveled to Dallas for a workshop. The employee left on Sunday to prepare for training on Monday morning. However, the employee is attempting to report the travel time as 8 hours, but did not have to work the entire day; only travel. Should this be adjusted to only the timeframe the employee was traveling?

If you travel during your normal work hours it will be counted as work time. Also, if you travel during what is considered your normal work hours on weekends and holidays it will also count as work time. Travel during other times is not considered work time.

For example, your normal work schedule is 8 – 5 Monday – Friday. You can claim work time for travel between 8 – 5 any day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday. Yes, adjust only the timeframe the employee was traveling during these hours, as appropriate.

Exception For Driving – If you are going to be out of town more than one day and you are driving, the drive time from portal to portal is considered compensable time. Co-workers riding as passengers are not eligible for the driving exception unless they are actually working.

I was at a conference last Thursday-Saturday. Could you tell me the appropriate way to record time while at a conference, on a Saturday?

Record Saturday for time spent at the conference during the day as specified by the conference agenda as normal work hours. Attendance at social events (such as happy or networking hours) outside of the conference agenda is not compensable time.

I have an employee who traveled to Corpus Christi and wants to count the travel time to and from as comp time, is this appropriate?

If the employee is driving then all of the time spent driving is compensable. Otherwise, travel time outside of those regular working hours is non-compensable. If you travel during your normal work hours it will be counted as work time. Also, if you travel during what is considered your normal work hours on weekends and holidays it will also count as work time. Travel during other times is not considered work time. Co-workers riding as passenger(s) are not eligible for the driving exception unless they are actually working.

For example, your normal work schedule is 8 – 5 Monday – Friday. You can claim work time for travel between 8 – 5 any day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday.

If I am traveling by car to an out of town conference and stop for lunch is the lunch time compensable time?

No, if you travel during your normal work hours it will be counted as work time. Also, if you travel during what is considered your normal work hours on weekends and holidays it will also count as work time. Travel during other times is not considered work time.  Meal periods are not compensable.

If attending an all-day conference or training class at a location other than campus, is the drive time to the training, the lunch period and cost and the drive time back home considered work time and is the mileage and food cost covered?

For a one-day conference, the employee is replacing their normal commute for the travel to/from the conference. Such time is non-compensable.  The mileage and food cost is subject to the institution’s reimbursement policies.

If an off campus training class only runs until 3:00, will the remaining 2 hours be considered work time? If so, can I also claim the travel time as work time?

No the remaining two hours are not considered work time if you are not doing work related activities. Normal commute time is non compensable.

I leave for an out of town conference on a Sunday at 3 pm. My normal work schedule is M-F; 8-5. I am not driving but using 3 hours of my "day off" time to get to the destination and arriving 1 hour after what would be the end of my normal day. Is the Sunday 3 hour period considered work time since I am doing this on a day I should not be required to work?

If you travel during your normal work hours it will be counted as work time. Also, if you travel during what is considered your normal work hours on weekends and holidays it will also count as work time. Travel during other times is not considered work time.


New Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Overtime Regulations

For any additional questions, please contact Jeff Lund at jl21@txstate.edu.

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. It requires overtime compensation (at time and one-half) for all hours worked over 40 hours in a week for nonexempt employees.

Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime for hours actually worked over 40 in a workweek. Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime.   

What has changed?

There have been several federal changes made. The most significant change is that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) raised the minimum salary for an employee to be designated as exempt (not eligible for overtime pay) from $23,660 per year ($455 per week) to $47,476 per year ($913 per week).

When will it change?

The updated regulations go into effect on December 1, 2016. At Texas State the changes due to the new regulations go into effect on November 27, 2016.

What will change for me?

Some employees are moving from exempt to non-exempt status. If you are changing to non-exempt status, this means you can now earn overtime compensation at a rate of time and one-half for all hours physically worked over 40 in a week (Sunday – Saturday). This change in status is simply a difference in the timekeeping and payroll process. You will now need to record all time worked in SAP, not just leave taken.

As a manager/supervisor, you are responsible for approving the time entered by your nonexempt employees.

If I am changing to non-exempt status, is this a demotion? I thought an exempt status was for professional employees like me?

No. In this case, the change in FLSA status refers only to the way your pay is calculated, not the level or professional nature of the work that you are doing. It is a difference in the timekeeping and payroll process and will ensure you are paid at time and one-half correctly for all hours physically worked over 40 in a week.

Is my pay rate changing?

In general…no. A small number of employees have received pay raises to maintain their exempt status.  If you are one of these employees, you will be notified by your department.

Can employees in the same job title have different FLSA status?

Since FLSA status (exempt or non-exempt) is determined based on the job, all regular full-time employees within the same job title will have the same FLSA status.

Will the status of non-exempt employees who are already covered by the FLSA change?

Employees who do not fall within rules governing the exempt classifications will not be affected by the new Overtime Rule because these workers are already entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week, regardless of the amount of money they make. The changes to the Overtime Rule will not affect that.

Does overtime have to be authorized by my supervisor prior to me working over 40 hours in a given week?

Yes, any overtime must be pre-approved by your supervisor. If you do not request approval from your supervisor, it is a violation of policy and may result in disciplinary action.

Does annual leave, holidays, and sick leave taken count towards hours worked during the workweek for the overtime requirement?

No. FLSA requires employers to pay non-exempt employees time and one-half of your regular rate of pay for all hours physically worked over 40 in a workweek. Annual leave, holidays, and sick leave hours are not actually “worked” and are therefore not considered as hours counted towards time and one-half overtime under FLSA. However, you would get straight State comp time in those cases if the total Sunday-Saturday workweek goes beyond 40 hours.

Will changing to non-exempt have any effect on my vacation accrual?

No, the new status will not affect vacation accrual.

Will changing to non-exempt affect my leave accrual?

No. Your leave accrual will remain the same. However, as a non-exempt employee, you will report all of your hours worked and any leave taken each day in SAP.

What will the impact of changing to non-exempt have on my benefits?

Changing from exempt to non-exempt will not affect your benefits in any way.

If I am changing from exempt to non-exempt status, what will happen to my current State Comp Time balance ?

Nothing. If you already earned State Comp Time as an exempt employee, those hours will remain in your balance and expire at the end of twelve months like normal.

If I work over 40 hours in a workweek, will I be paid for those hours or are they banked to take time off later?

For regular employees, the FLSA overtime earned will be banked for taking time off at a later date. The hours do not expire.

NSNR employees will be paid all FLSA Overtime hours each payroll period.


Logging Work Time

When is conference or training attendance considered work time?

Overtime rules for conferences and training:

The FLSA provides guidance related to attendance at conferences and training events. This guidance is summarized below.

Time need not be counted as hours worked if all of the criteria listed here are met:

  • Attendance is outside the employee’s regular work hours.
  • Attendance is voluntary.
  • The course, lecture, meeting is not directly related to the employee’s job.
  • The employee does no productive work while in attendance.

If these criteria are not met the time spent in attendance at a training event, conference or workshop is considered compensable time.

Remember, training that is 1) involuntary, 2) related to the employee’s job, 3) during regular working hours, or  is 4)  productive is considered compensable work time.

How to compensate travel time?

Travel time is generally compensable during regular working hours on work days and during regular working hours on weekends. We have a compensable travel time chart available for your reference under additional resources.


Job Audits

What is the difference between a promotion and a classification?

A reclassification is a technical adjustment of a position’s title to ensure that the job title adequately describes the job duties and responsibilities performed by the employee. A reclassification requires a job audit from Human Resources to determine the appropriate job title for the assigned duties and responsibilities. An audit also ascertains the appropriate FLSA overtime status and EEO category.

A promotion does not require an audit and is based on merit and an employee’s performance. A promotion can occur when the department has a vacant position to promote an employee into. Occasionally an audit is needed to create a new position into which the department can promote an employee.

What documents are needed to request a job audit?

HR needs a requisition sent through administrative channels via the EASY system. The requesting department needs to add the organizational chart, job analysis form, and justification memo to the requisition. Once the requisition and attachments are received by HR the audit is placed on our schedule. Audits are handled in the order in which they are received.

When will my job audit be complete?

HR attempts to complete audits as soon as possible, but due to work load and audit volume we anticipate  2 to 3 work weeks after receipt of all of the required documentation. Audits are handled in the order received. Currently HR is completing most audits within 5-6 work days.

What does it mean if the VP and Budget office approve the job audit?

Every requisition that is sent through administrative channels for a job audit must be approved by the appropriate vice president and the budget office.

The vice president approves the audit request. The budget office approves funding for the audit result, either for the new position or to fund any proposed increase as the result of a reclassification audit.


Salary Compensation

I want to compensate an existing salaried staff employee for performing job duties other than the duties performed in their current position. What steps do I need to follow?

Occasionally managers want to compensate a staff employee for performing duties unrelated to their regular job. It is important that the duties be unrelated to their primary appointment with the university. When this happens, the manager will need to do the following:

  • Send a list of duties to HR.
    • HR will determine whether the duties are exempt from FLSA overtime and are unrelated to the employee’s current job with the university. If approved by HR, the manager will:
  • Pay an exempt employee by PCR via a lump sum payment (Special Payment PCR).
    • Duties performed during the regular work day must be covered by the appropriate paid leave category (accrued vacation or state comp time).

If the extra job duties are considered non-exempt by HR, the manager will:

  • Pay the employee by use of the Event Work Hours option in time entry. 
    • Event work paid equal to the employee’s hourly rate at time and a half

Notes: Consistent with federal law and university policy, a non-exempt employee cannot receive a lump sum stipend payment. Compensation for additional work performed cannot exceed more than 25% of the staff employee’s base annual salary each fiscal year.

What rules dictate the level of compensation for an employee transfer?

UPPS 04.04.11 states: A transfer means a change to another position with the same or lower pay grade minimum salary. It is not the result of a disciplinary action. A department may transfer an employee to an equivalent position or title under the same account manager or within the same account, as necessary. An employee may request a transfer to an equivalent or lower position or title under the same account manager or within the same account. The PCR will show the granted transfer as a voluntary transfer, not a demotion.

  1. Transfer to an un-posted position with the same pay grade – The department head may place the employee’s salary at any rate in the new pay grade but not more than the employee’s current salary. Additionally, there is a required 90-calendar-day waiting period before a pay adjustment may be made.
  2. Transfer to an un-posted position with a lower pay grade—The department head may place the employee’s salary at the employee’s current rate or the new pay grade maximum whichever is lower. Additionally, there is a required 90-calendar-day waiting period before a pay adjustment may be made.
  3. Transfer to a posted position with no posted rate – The department head may place the employee’s salary at the employee’s current rate or the new pay grade maximum whichever is lower. Additionally, there is a required 90-calendar-day waiting period before a pay adjustment may be made.
  4. Transfer to a posted position with a posted rate –If a single rate was posted, the employee’s salary must be placed at that posted single rate. If a rate range was posted, the employee’s salary may be placed anywhere within the pay plan range for the posted title but no higher than the employee’s current rate or the maximum of the new pay grade whichever is lower. Additionally, there is a required 90 calendar day waiting period before any pay adjustment may be made.

What rules dictate the level of compensation for an employee promotion?

UPPS 04.04.11 states: Promotion Compensation (Staff) – As distinguished from a  reclassification, means a change to a position title in a higher pay grade.

  1. Promotion to an un-posted position or to a position with no posted rate – The department head may place the employee’s salary at any rate in the new pay grade.
  2. Promotion to a posted position with a posted rate/range – If a single rate was posted, the employee’s salary must be placed at the posted single rate.  If a rate range was posted, the employee’s salary may be placed anywhere within the pay plan range for the posted title but no higher than the maximum of the posted range.

How can a classified employee receive a pay increase and how could he/she reach the mid-point of their range?

University policy provides for pay increases in several ways: University Longevity Pay, Market adjustments, and Merit pay.

University Longevity is awarded every two years of employment for up to 4 times based on the employee’s hire date. Each increase is 1.5%. Some personnel actions (reclassifications, promotions, etc) increase the number of ULP increases an employee may receive by resetting their ULP calendar and making them eligible for 4 additional ULP increases.

In addition, Human Resources provides management with recommendations to update the university’s pay plan which may also result in a pay increase for those employees who fall below the new pay plan minimum.

A merit pay increase is discretionary and it is up to the immediate supervisor and the department’s chain of command to determine the amount of merit increase to grant an employee.

In addition, supervisors may grant a pay increase with appropriate approvals through administrative channels at any time as a “salary adjustment.”


Job Posting

Can I post or advertise a position with a bachelor's degree "required"?

HR has developed a degree validation process that assists in determining whether or not a degree is an absolute bona fide requirement of the job. A validation process is completed to ensure that the university’s minimum job requirements are valid and are based on verifiable and validated knowledge, skills and abilities. Most staff jobs do not require a degree as a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) and the knowledge, skill and ability that it takes to perform the critical functions of most jobs can be acquired through means other than a college degree. In most cases, the degree will be placed under “preferred” in the job posting. The degree validation form can be found here.