Frequently Asked Questions

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On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released updated regulations that employers must follow in order to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

  • What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal wage and hour law administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The purpose of the FLSA is to establish minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting most full-time and part-time workers. Employees are either “exempt” or “non-exempt” from the FLSA regulations. This designation indicates eligibility for overtime pay when overtime is worked. The FLSA requires employers to pay their employees overtime (one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay) for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek unless they meet a minimum pay requirement and their job duties meet specific criteria to be “exempt” from overtime.

  • What is the difference between an “exempt” and a “non-exempt” employee?

The difference is that an “exempt” employee is paid on a salary basis (a predetermined amount of money for work performed, regardless of the hours actually worked) and is not required to track time worked. At Emory University, these employees are paid monthly. A “non-exempt” employee is paid based on actual hours worked, and is required to track all time worked and be paid overtime for time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. At Emory University, these employees are paid bi-weekly.

  • What is changing?

The DOL has announced that they will revise the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), raising the salary threshold required to qualify for exemption from overtime to $47,476 per year (an increase from the current $23,660 per year). This is a significant change which will impact, in some way, a number of Emory staff members, transitioning them from exempt status to non-exempt status (i.e. paid bi-weekly and overtime eligible). The new regulation also establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years, beginning January 1, 2020.

  • Why is this change occurring?

It important to understand that it was not Emory University’s decision to make this change; the Department of Labor made the decision to change its regulations. The DOL explains that overtime regulations were revised in order to “help build real, lasting economic security for more hardworking Americans.” A change to the regulations has not been made since 2004.

  • When is the regulation effective?

The federal government has set the effective date of the final rule for December 1, 2016. Emory’s actual implementation date will be decided upon based on a variety of administrative factors. This is a complex administrative change requiring numerous systems changes in HR and payroll, communications to those impacted, and a myriad of other things required to make this a smooth transition for all involved.

  • Who is affected by this change?

A number of staff positions at Emory University will move from exempt to non-exempt.

  • How and when will impacted employees be notified?

If your job is changing from exempt to non-exempt, you will be notified by your department or school in late September.

  • What does this change mean for employees who are affected?

Employees moving from exempt to non-exempt: • Must report all hours worked • Must be paid for all hours worked and receive overtime for time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek • Will be paid bi-weekly rather than monthly. It is very important to understand that this change in no way impacts the value of any staff member’s work or the importance of his/her contributions to Emory University. Emory is responding to a change in federal law and is required to be in compliance. Emory University understands that this transition may be difficult for some employees and units, and will offer several resources to help manage the change.

  • Where can I get more information?

HR has set up an FLSA webpage. As more details and resources become available, these will be posted on this site.

Last update: September 22, 2016