The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

For additional questions regarding overtime, the FLSA, or any other related questions, please contact your HR Consultant at 540/568-7247.




What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The Fair Labor Standards Act, more commonly known as FLSA, is a federal wage and hour law which was passed in 1938.  The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.  Compliance with the FLSA is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). 

The FLSA requires employers to pay employees at least the minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour. The FLSA provides some employees with an exemption from the overtime requirements if they meet certain “white collar” exemption tests.  This exemption provides an exception to the overtime rules for employees who meet the exemption tests for administrative, professional, executive, outside salesperson, and computer employees.

What is the difference between an exempt and nonexempt employee?

Under the federal FLSA, a nonexempt employee is one who is entitled to at least the minimum wage for each hour worked and to overtime whenever working more than 40 hours in a workweek.  Any employee may be classified as nonexempt.

By contrast, an employee who is exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA is not eligible to be paid overtime by the university.  In order to be exempt from overtime, the employee’s job duties performed must meet one of the FLSA exemption tests, must be paid on a fixed salary basis at a rate of at least $455 per week ($23,660 annually).

My position moved from exempt to a non-exempt status. What will change for me?

You will now be a non-exempt employee.  This means that you can now earn overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half times your regular rate of pay for all hours physically worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. 

This change in status is simply a difference in the timekeeping and payroll processes.  However, as a non-exempt employee, you will need to record all time worked on your timesheet, including any leave taken. 

My position moved from non-exempt to an exempt status. What will change for me?

You will now be an exempt employee. This means that you will be exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA and will not receive overtime pay when working over 40 hours in a workweek. You will not need to track hours worked unless required to do so for a different reason by your supervisor.

What is the JMU workweek?

The standard JMU workweek begins 12:01 a.m. Sunday and ends at midnight the following Saturday, except for those employees whose workweek is designated differently. 

Does overtime have to be authorized by my supervisor?

Yes.  Overtime must be pre-approved by your supervisor.  Failure to request approval may result in disciplinary action. 

If I work beyond my scheduled hours or work from home without prior authorization, will I still be paid for these hours?

Yes.  Federal law requires that non-exempt employees be paid for all hours worked, even if the employee does not receive permission from his/her supervisor to do so.  However, as stated above, employees will be subject to disciplinary action if they work beyond 40 hours in a workweek without prior approval.  

Will changing FLSA exemptions such as from exempt to non-exempt affect my leave accrual?

No. Leave accruals will remain the same.  However, a non-exempt employee, will be required to report all hours worked, as well as any leave taken each day on the Time and Attendance Record.

Time records must include a daily record of all paid and non-paid leave used. The paid leave includes annual leave, sick leave, holidays, workers' compensation, civil leave, inclement weather days, and military leave. The unpaid leave would include leave without pay and suspension. The employee and supervisor signatures must be on the Time and Attendance Record for each payroll period to certify that the time recorded is accurate.

Is there any impact on my benefits should my FLSA status change?

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

What is different about tracking hours for a non-exempt employee?

FLSA requires that non-exempt employees must report all time worked.  It is your responsibility to account for and record your time worked accurately and honestly each day using a Time and Attendance Record.  Additionally, it is the employee’s responsibility to secure approval from the supervisor prior to working overtime.

Can I work in a wage or adjunct position if my primary position is classified as non-exempt?

Yes. However, you must be paid a weighted overtime average for hours worked in the part-time position. The weighted overtime average includes earnings from both the full-time and part-time position. 

You will be required to track hours for the full-time and part-time position separately and must report these hours to your supervisor on a weekly basis using the Student and Wage Employee Time Sheet.

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

No. FLSA requires employers to pay non-exempt employees one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours physically worked over 40 in a workweek.  Annual leave, personal leave, and sick leave hours are not physically worked and therefore are not considered as hours counted towards overtime.

Can I choose between overtime pay and overtime leave?

Yes. Under current policy, as an alternative to cash payments for overtime hours worked, a supervisor may choose to offer their full-time non-exempt employees the option of receiving overtime leave. If the employee is offered overtime leave, he/she may then choose either to receive cash payment for overtime hours worked or receive overtime leave as compensation. Overtime leave is issued at a rate of one and one-half times the hours worked.

Additional information and stipulations pertaining to the Overtime Leave provision are available in JMU Policy 1303 – Provisions for Granting Overtime & Compensatory Leave. 

Where can I find more information about the FLSA?

The Department of Labor (DOL) has provided guidance on the FLSA, including information specific for higher education institutions. We encourage you to read further about the FLSA and how this law will affect you.

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