FLSA Frequently Asked Questions - Human Resources at Ohio State


FLSA Frequently Asked Questions

What timekeeping system do I use and how do I use it?
Check with your unit’s human resources professional for information on your unit’s timekeeping system. eTimesheet is the university’s primary online timekeeping system for hourly (non-exempt) employees. You access eTimesheet using your Ohio State username (lastname.#) and password. See Instructions for eTimesheet.

When is the timesheet deadline?
Hourly staff and students are required to submit timesheets by Mondays at 10 a.m. Timesheets submitted after this deadline may result in delayed payment for time worked. Check with your local unit to determine when to submit if a holiday falls on a Monday.

Who approves my timesheet?
In general, your supervisor approves your timesheet. Contact your supervisor or your unit’s human resources professional if you are unsure who approves your timesheet.

What happens if a supervisor forgets to approve an employee’s time?
If an hourly employee’s timesheet is not approved, that person will not be paid. Most local units have back-up approvers in place so this does not happen. Contact your unit’s human resources professional to determine the back-up approver.

What happens if my timesheet is not submitted and approved by the deadline?
You will not be paid until the pay period following submission of the timesheet.

How do I track work outside normal business hours, such as email, lunch meetings and after-hours phone calls?
Non-exempt staff are paid for all hours worked.  Each department will communicate rules and expectations, including meal breaks and work outside normal business hours. Supervisors are responsible for monitoring time. Contact your unit’s human resources professional for more information. Read more about compensable time.

How does travel time count as “hours worked”?
Under certain circumstances, time spent traveling is counted as hours worked. Time spent traveling is generally considered work time if it occurs during the course of the regular workday. Overnight travel is reviewed on a case by case basis to determine what time is compensable. Read more about compensable time.

Do paid break periods count as “hours worked” as part of calculating overtime?
Yes, federal law states that breaks of less than 20 minutes are compensable and included in the total hours worked. Read more about compensable time.

Do lunch breaks count as “hours worked”?
No, unless the lunch is a working lunch, the time spent eating lunch will not count towards the total hours worked that week. Read more about compensable time.

My manager is unavailable to pre-approve my overtime. What should I do if I need to stay late to finish a project?
If your supervisor is not available, check with your unit’s human resource professional for direction. Each department should have established rules for working outside of normal working hours, including a process for the pre-approval of overtime.

If the biweekly payday is a holiday and offices are closed, when will paychecks be issued?
The biweekly pay dates are reflected in the pay processing calendar.

How do I address additional federal and state taxes I am having withheld from my pay when I switch to biweekly?
Federal and state taxes are withheld from every pay. Any tax amount you request to be withheld in addition to the amount withheld based on your allowances, will also be withheld from every pay. (Example: If you withhold an extra $50 per pay that will become $100 per month for months with two biweekly pay dates.) Use Employee Self Service (W-4 Tax information) to adjust.

How will the transition to a biweekly schedule affect my pay?
This transition will not change your base compensation rate at Ohio State, but your biweekly pay will be determined by the hours you report on your timesheets. This could increase or decrease your earnings for any pay period compared to your current paycheck.

When you initially move from monthly paychecks to biweekly ones, you will experience a temporary pay gap. For biweekly pay, there is a two-week lag between hours worked and receipt of pay. This is to allow for review and processing of hours worked. It results in a temporary pay gap that is made up with your last paycheck.

Are vacation accruals affected?
Your annual sick and vacation accruals will remain the same over a full year, though the accrual schedule will change to biweekly. (See schedule)

Will changing from exempt to non-exempt change how I receive my pay (e.g. direct deposit or physical check)?
There will be no change in how you receive your pay. You should review your direct deposit and any other automatic transfers or bill payments to ensure they meet your needs under a biweekly schedule. If you previously set up direct deposit, your pay will be automatically deposited into your bank account. See our checklist for more information.

Will my pay dates change?
Yes. You will shift from monthly pay to biweekly pay.

Is there a calendar for biweekly pay?
Yes. See the biweekly pay calendar.

Am I being demoted?
No. Your title and pay remain the same. The frequency of your pay will change from monthly (salaried) to biweekly (hourly), and you will retain all service credit and vacation/leave accruals, which continue to accrue at the same rate annually.

Can non-exempt employees flex their work schedule? For example, work through lunch in order to leave an hour early for a doctor’s appointment.
Yes, this is acceptable providing that the flexible schedule is approved by your manager, supports the unit’s needs and is flexed within the same work week (Sunday – Saturday).

How will overtime pay be calculated when I have multiple appointments with different hourly rates?
Overtime is considered at the university level, not the unit level. The system is programmed to appropriately calculate the overtime rates. The charge is split proportionally across the employing units regardless of where the overtime occurred.

Is a non-exempt job still considered a professional position?
The designation of exempt or non-exempt is simply a legal designation and does not impact the type or importance of an employee’s work.

What is my overtime exemption status if I have multiple appointments?
When an employee holds multiple appointments, all appointments must have the same overtime eligibility status. The local human resources professional can provide specific information about overtime eligibility for employees with multiple appointments.

What overtime eligibility will part-time employees have?
The Department of Labor does not view part-time and full-time employment differently for overtime rules. If a part-time employee is non-exempt, they are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. Contact your unit’s human resources professional if you are unsure of your job title’s FLSA status.

Is the FLSA salary threshold pro-rated for part-time employees?
No. The Department of Labor does not pro-rate the salary threshold. Any employee making less than $47,476/year will be non-exempt unless the job is eligible for statutory exclusion.

Does the FLSA salary threshold consider only base salary or also include bonuses and other additional pay?
The Department of Labor regulation allows for some bonuses and certain additional pay to be included in specific circumstances, but the university has decided at this time to not include bonuses or additional pay in determining overtime eligibility.

Can compensatory time be used instead of cash?
The guidelines allow Ohio State to compensate non-exempt employees for time worked in excess of 40 hours per week with comp time instead of pay.  At this time, Ohio State will continue to follow its policy 6.10 relating to compensatory time.

How does FLSA affect undergraduate student employees?
Undergraduate students who are employed by Ohio State are typically in the Student Assistant job (or similar title) and are already eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. Therefore the revised regulation will have no impact on this group. For details about student employment, see Student Employment Policy 10.10.

How does FLSA affect graduate students?
To comply with Graduate School guidelines, GAs will shift to the Student Associate title during any semester when not enrolled in classes and become eligible for overtime. This shift to Student Associate is not a new process; however, overtime eligibility as a Student Associate is a change.

How is overtime status determined for job codes that have employees above and below the salary threshold?
Overtime status is determined at the employee level. Employees who make below $47,476 will be eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week and are not excluded by statute. (There are continuing exclusions by statute for teachers, attorneys and physicians.)

Employees whose salary is above the threshold may also be eligible for overtime based on their job duties. Deans and senior vice presidents have some discretion within their units to adopt practices that meet their unit’s financial and management needs, such as shifting some employees to non-exempt even if they are above the salary threshold.

If I hire a staff employee into a classification that is right around the threshold, how does the system determine if they are exempt or non-exempt?
Units are encouraged to consult with OHR Compensation in advance to identify the appropriate job title and classification, target hiring range and FLSA status. In general, business rules around job codes that default to exempt status are as follows:

  1. If the minimum of the target hiring range is below the $47,476 threshold, the position must be classified as non-exempt.
  2. If the minimum of the hiring range exceeds $47,476, the position may be classified as exempt based upon review of duties by OHR Compensation.

How do we transition graduate students to the Student Associate job title when they are not enrolled in classes?
The default status of the Student Associate job title transitioned from exempt to non-exempt effective October 31, 2016. Graduate Associates who are Student Associates when they are not enrolled will shift from monthly stipend to hourly pay and be paid bi-weekly. Units will need to counsel students about the shift in pay and timekeeping requirements.

When do we need to determine our unit’s overtime guidelines and practices?
Units should keep current any practices regarding timekeeping, approving overtime, working outside of normal working hours, etc. Unit practices should be clearly communicated to managers and affected employees prior to the implementation of the new FLSA regulations. Employees should be oriented to unit practices upon hire and current employees should periodically be reminded of the work rules.

What happens if the FLSA status changes after a position was posted?
If the FLSA status changes after a position was posted, units can extend an offer with the known future status included in the offer letter.

Position data can be corrected prior to the hire being entered in the system. This will allow the employee to begin their employment as non-exempt; otherwise, the employee will shift to non-exempt during implementation of the updated federal regulations.

Will the day-to-day job duties and expectations of my job change if I transition from exempt to non-exempt?
No, it is the intention that the actual job duties an employee performs will not change as a direct result of the updated regulations.

Will my supervisor expect me to get the same amount of work done in 40 hours that used to take me over 40 hours?
There are a variety of options that managers can consider to improve processes and increase efficiencies to minimize overtime costs. Managers are encouraged to reach out to the human resources professional assigned to the unit for assistance.

If I cannot complete the same amount of work in 40 hours, will my performance appraisal suffer?
Performance evaluations should compare individual performance to a reasonable standard for the type of work performed.