FLSA FAQs

If you have additional questions on FLSA that are not answered below, contact the HR Service Center at 315.443.4042.

FLSA Overview

On Nov. 22, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide temporary restraining order prohibiting the implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations. The regulations were scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 1.

The University has been prepared to comply with the new regulations that were announced in May and ensure that standards are applied consistently and equitably to all employees in a fair and responsible manner. We had announced that, effective Dec. 1, we would (1) provide pay increases to some exempt employees who qualify under the new regulations; and (2) provide some employees who qualify with overtime pay in addition to their current salaries and benefits.

Although some other universities halted implementation of the new regulations in light of the court ruling, Chancellor Kent Syverud and the leadership team at Syracuse University decided to proceed with the plan as previously announced. We believe this approach was the right thing to do for our employees who are critical to carrying out the mission of the University.

Employees who were impacted by these changes have already been notified. Those who have questions about these changes are encouraged to contact the Office of Human Resources at 315.443.4042 or via email at hrservic@syr.edu. To learn more about the FLSA, please visit the Office of Human Resources website.

The United States Department of Labor released new federal rules on overtime salary exemptions that take effect December 1, 2016.  The new rule increases the minimum salary requirements for those employees who are exempt from receiving overtime pay to at least $913 per workweek, which is $47,476 for a full year.

The changes did not apply to teaching faculty or adjunct faculty.

While different types of positions will have different possible job classification solutions, the University applied consistent strategies and philosophies in identifying reclassification options. This philosophy for decision making included: compliance, fairness, consistency of approach, and affordability.

FLSA Operations

The law does not permit prorating of part time salaries, because the premise of being exempt is that you are paid a fixed salary irrespective of the hours worked.

Yes.  Syracuse University has a responsibility under the FLSA to maintain precise records of the hours worked by non-exempt employees, and also retains the right under the FLSA to track the hours worked by exempt employees.  There are various methods for tracking time, including time sheets, sign in/out sheets, and time clocks. A common method is for staff members to record their hours worked each day on a form, and then submit that form to the payroll person in their department at the end of the payroll week.

Any hours worked over 40 should be discussed with your supervisor (and approved by your supervisor) prior to the work being performed.

To meet the needs of the University, particularly in meeting the needs of students, there is flexibility to schedule hours to account for occasional needs outside of the standard University hours while maintaining your total hours worked within a payroll week.

Divide your annual salary by your standard hours, and then divide by the number of weeks worked per year.  For example:

$40,000 / 40 hours per week / 52 weeks per year = $19.23

$36,300 / 30 hours per week / 52 weeks per year = $23.27

$45,000 / 40 hours per week / 40 weeks per year = $28.13

The effort reporting will remain the same. If you continue to be paid semi-monthly, you will continue to certify your effort each semester as you always have.

If overtime occurs, it will be charged to the same distribution as the employee’s regular pay is charged. For example, if an employee’s regular pay is charged 50% to the department and 50% to sponsored awards, then the overtime pay will also be charged 50% to the department and 50% to sponsored awards.

The Wage and Salary, Overtime and Fair Labor Standards policy addresses this question. The pertinent excerpt is as follows: If employees are called back to work after having punched out for the day, they are guaranteed four hours of pay or four hours of work. This does not include reporting early for their shifts. If employees are scheduled for overtime in advance (i.e., the day before), they will be guaranteed two hours of pay or two hours of work. In both cases, employees must actually report for the work.  If the assignment is cancelled beforehand, there is no guarantee. If there is work available and the employee refuses, the guaranteed minimum is forfeited.

Certain positions may have job-specific on-call information and protocols (i.e., Assistant Residence Directors and Department of Public Safety staff) that will be shared with individuals specifically impacted.

While there is not a specific number, there are laws that protect the consecutive amount of time worked.  Any overtime needs to be approved by your supervisor prior to the work being performed.

If an employee’s work requires non-transitional hours and days at times of the year, employees may speak to their supervisor about adjusting their schedule to have different hours or days off to compensate for the additional work. If time off within that same work week cannot be accommodated, then the employee must be paid for every hour worked.

The University’s standard work week is Thursday through Wednesday.

You are required to accurately record all time worked. This must be done on a daily basis using the University’s paper or electronic timekeeping system. Your supervisor will provide you with instructions concerning the timekeeping system that you will be required to use.

No. The expectation is that if you are regularly scheduled for 40 hours in a workweek, that you will have enough work to do within those 40 hours. If you complete your work in fewer than 40 hours during a workweek, then you should notify your supervisor. Your timesheet must account for 40 hours per workweek.

No, the uninterrupted 30-minute meal period is unpaid time, as it is not considered time worked. The standard workday of 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (academic year) or 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (summer) covers a period of 8.5 hours; 8 hours of work and one uninterrupted 30-minute meal period.

No. In light of the standard workday of 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (academic year) or 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (summer), New York Labor Law requires the provision of an uninterrupted 30-minute meal break.

No, comp time is not allowable. To meet University needs, there is flexibility to modify hours on occasion to keep your hours worked the same, but perhaps outside of the standard University hours. In this regard, the University retains the right to limit the number of hours worked by a non-exempt employee in a workweek.  For example, if a non-exempt employee reaches 40 hours worked through four days of a regularly scheduled five-day workweek, the University may direct the employee not to report to work for the fifth day.

No, any “off the clock” work is strictly prohibited. All time worked must be accurately recorded. If you are unable to complete a work task within your regularly scheduled hours, you must consult with your supervisor prior to performing any work outside of your scheduled working hours.  Leadership and supervisors within the school/college or administrative unit will determine whether to allow additional work outside of your scheduled shift. Overtime is any any additional hours worked over 40 within the University workweek of Thursday to Wednesday.

You may not perform any work outside of your scheduled work hours unless you have received permission to do so from your supervisor. If you review and/or respond to e-mails outside of your scheduled hours, you must accurately record this time.

Employees are paid at the applicable overtime rate for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Although the University pays for hours worked, employees are prohibited from performing any work beyond their scheduled hours without obtaining prior approval from their supervisor. There may be occasions when employees are required to work over 40 hours in a workweek and/or on days that are different than their regularly scheduled days of work (e.g., opening weekend, commencement).

Employees who wish to flex their schedule in this way should discuss this with their supervisor. Making up time missed for an appointment is possible with permission of the supervisor, and must be completed in the same Thursday – Wednesday workweek.

Flexible Work Arrangements may be approved if both the supervisor and the employee agree on the terms (e.g., working from home, work hours shifted from standard, etc.), and if the workweek hours total 40. It is important to review Flexible Work Arrangements with your supervisor at least once per year.

Yes, with advance permission from the supervisor, and if the workweek hours total 40. Flexible schedule arrangements with a duration of more than one workweek should be established in writing.

The overtime pay is taxed using the employee’s Form W-4 status and number of allowances, in the same way that their regular pay is taxed. Each pay period, the system will calculate the appropriate taxes to be withheld based on the gross amount of pay and the employee’s Form W-4 status and number of allowances.

The Wage and Salary, Overtime and Fair Labor Standards policy addresses this question. The pertinent excerpt is as follows: Any work performed by an hourly (non-student) employee on a regular University holiday is paid at the overtime rate.

This will vary depending on the type of travel.

  • Special one-day travel to another city: All time traveling on one-day, out-of-town work assignments must be counted as “hours worked.” Deductions may be made, however, for bona fide meal periods and for time spent traveling between the employee’s home and a train station or airport, or the time the employee would normally spend commuting to the regular worksite.
  • Overnight travel away: If an employee is required to travel away from home and stay overnight as part of a work assignment, travel time during the employee’s normal workday must be counted as hours worked, not only for regular workdays, but also for non-workdays. For example, if an employee’s regular work hours are 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the employee is required to travel on out-of-town on Saturday and stay overnight, the employee must be paid for all travel time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday (with deductions for bona fide meal periods). Time spent traveling outside of regular working hours during overnight away travel is not compensable as work time. For example, if the employee in this example traveled from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., the employee does not need to be paid for the time spent traveling between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., because it would be outside of regular working hours. However, if the employee was working while traveling during the extra hour (e.g., reading work materials or working on a laptop computer), this time would be compensable work time.

FLSA and Benefits Programs

The University proactively decided to extend exempt-level benefits for exempt employees who have been reclassified as non-exempt as a result of the changes to the FLSA. This means that any staff member who was reclassified as a non-exempt employee retained the vacation, sick time, disability benefits and parking lot status associated with the exempt classification.

The University has proactively decided to extend these benefits for your time employed as a benefits-eligible employee. If you separate from the University or transfer to a non-benefits eligible position, your continuation of benefits permanently ends.

Yes, you can choose to be paid weekly, but you will not be offered the opportunity to be paid on a semi-monthly as a non-exempt employee again if you later change your mind. Choosing to be paid weekly will not affect the extension of benefits. If you are interested in being paid weekly, please contact the HR Service Center at 315.443.4042 to talk with a representative about the various advantages and disadvantages.

Yes, benefits-eligible employees will be paid for Green Days and vacation time will not be charged.

Yes. You will be credited with an equal amount of extra time off for each day worked that must be that must be taken after the Green Days and on or before June 30. This time off cannot be rolled over into a new fiscal year.