CSU readies for new federal standard for overtime eligibility

Historic Oval in summer

CSU is preparing to roll out a series of general information sessions to inform the campus community about changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and what the updated regulation means for overtime pay for employees across the university. These initial meetings will begin Friday, June 10, and run through the month of June at Lory Student Center. Additional sessions to provide guidelines to supervisors and employees will be scheduled for late summer and fall.

RELATED COVERAGE: FLSA information sessions

The new “Final Rule,” as it is called, was released by the Obama administration on May 18 and will be effective Dec. 1, 2016. Under the update, the cutoff for overtime pay (i.e., time and one-half regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek) will increase to $47,476, which more than doubles the current amount set in 2004. Additionally, the salary threshold will automatically increase every three years starting in 2020 in response to cost-of-living adjustments.

The Department of Labor released two key documents specifically discussing how the rule will impact higher education institutions: Guidance for Higher Education Institutions on Paying Overtime under the Fair Labors Standard Act and the Overtime Final Rule and Higher Education fact sheet. These documents also are linked from the CSU Human Resources web page created to provide supervisors and employees with information about the 2016 FLSA changes.

CSU Executive Director for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity Diana Prieto said her team carefully monitored the national debate around proposed changes to the FLSA since the White House made clear its intent last year to increase the salary threshold. Human Resources began positioning the campus community at that time to move forward swiftly, once a final decision was announced.

“The Department of Human Resources shared with campus leadership and during presentations to other groups this past year the then-proposed changes to the FLSA,” Prieto said. “We also began preparing an implementation strategy in anticipation of the final decision. Though the new rule is highly nuanced for the academic sector, the effective date of early December is later than the original September date discussed by the Obama administration, and those extra three months allow for much-needed additional time to ready campus, supervisors and employees for the changes that will be taking place.”

RELATED COVERAGE: FLSA implementation timeline

Prieto also said the university is “mindful that a central time management system” would be highly beneficial in assisting colleges, departments and units in monitoring overtime and complying with FLSA at the new salary threshold, and the university is assessing options. Prieto also noted that although the final rule leaves unchanged the teaching exemption which applies to faculty and instructors, that is not the case for researchers or post-doctoral positions who do not teach. Researcher, post-doctoral, Administrative and State Classified positions are subject to the overtime eligibility analysis under the FLSA. Graduate research assistants and teaching assistants are not subject to the FLSA and do not need to be concerned about any changes.

According to Human Resources, approximately 800 employees could be reclassified as eligible for overtime under the new regulation, with the ensuing financial impact to the university still to be determined and contingent upon a mix of overtime management options utilized by departments.

RELATED COVERAGE: How will the new FLSA rule impact my job?

Schedule of FLSA information sessions

CSU’s Department of Human Resources is hosting a series of general information sessions this month about the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule changes. The following is the schedule for the June sessions:

  • Friday, June 10, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Lory Student Center Room 382
  • Wednesday, June 15, 11 a.m. to noon, LSC Longs Peak Room 302
  • Thursday, June 16, 9 to 10 a.m., LSC Longs Peak Room 302
  • Monday, June 27, 11 a.m. to noon, LSC Longs Peak Room 302

CSU timeline for rule implementation

CSU has been preparing for the overtime rule changes for months. A timeline of past and ongoing efforts by Human Resources to prepare campus for the Dec. 1 implementation of the new rule is available here.

How will the new FLSA rule affect my job?

Determining what the changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act mean for specific positions across the CSU community is the task at hand for the university’s Department of Human Resources.

Here is a general look at how the new FLSA rule affects positions across campus.

CSU University Communications Staff