FLSA Frequently Asked Questions

What is the FLSA?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes certain minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in both the public and private sectors. These regulations determine the FLSA designation or exemption status for each position.

What does the term "non-exempt" mean?
Non-exempt employees are covered by the overtime and recordkeeping provision of the FLSA and are entitled to overtime pay if work exceeds 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime is paid at a premium of time and one-half of the employee's regular hourly rate of pay. Hours entered for University holidays, vacation time, or sick leave do not count toward the 40 hour threshold.

What does the term "exempt" mean?
Exempt employees are not covered by the overtime provisions of the FLSA and are paid an agreed upon amount for the whole job, regardless of the amount of time required to complete the work. Exempt employees receive a set monthly salary regardless of the number of hours worked.

What are the criteria that enable employees to be exempt from FLSA overtime provisions?
To be exempt, an employee must meet all of the standards in the following tests:

    • Be paid over a minimum salary established by the FLSA - "the salary level test"
    • Be paid on a salary basis as opposed to an hourly basis - "the salary basis test"
    • Perform certain duties as outlined in one of the "duties tests"

What duties tests are applicable to Saint Louis University employees?
To be exempt, an employee must qualify under one or more of the following tests:

    • Executive exemption test
    • Administrative exemption test
    • Professional exemption test
    • Computer exemption test
    • Highly compensated employee exemption test 

Each duties test has specific requirements that must be met for an employee to be exempt. For example, the Executive Exemption requires that an employee a) supervise two or more full time employees (or their FTE equivalent), b) have authority to hire and fire, or meaningfully recommend hiring and firing, and c) manage a recognized department or subdivision.

Are there duties tests that relate to higher education?
Teachers are exempt if their primary duty is teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge, and if they are employed and engaged in this activity as a teacher in an educational establishment. Employees whose primary duty is performing administrative functions directly related to academic instruction or training in an educational establishment must be paid on a salary basis which is at least equal to the entrance salary for teachers in the same educational establishment.

What is the salary level test?
The FLSA salary level test, requires that an employee's salary must be at least $23,660 annually or $455 a week in order to be considered exempt from the overtime provisions. An employee with a salary less than $23,660 annually or $455 a week must be classified as non-exempt. The salary level test is one of three standards that must be met for a position to be considered exempt.

Does exempt status affect pay and benefits at Saint Louis University?
Exempt status has an impact on three areas: overtime pay, frequency of pay, and time reporting.

    • Overtime for Non-exempt Employees: Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their hourly rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.
    • Frequency of Pay: Non-exempt staff are paid on a bi-weekly basis.
    • Time Reporting: Non-exempt staff record all hours worked during the bi-weekly pay cycle.

What constitutes "work time" under the FLSA?
Time worked under the FLSA includes all time spent performing job-related activities that (a) genuinely benefit the employer, (b) which the employer "knows or has reason to believe" are being performed by an employee, and (c) which the employer does not prohibit the employee from performing. These can include activities performed during "off-the-clock" time, at the job site or elsewhere, whether "voluntary" or not.
Examples of work time include a) time worked before the scheduled start time; b) rest breaks less than 20 minutes; c) eating lunch at the desk, while answering the phone, serving students, or performing any work; and c) time worked after the scheduled ending time.

Examples of non-work time include a) eating lunch at desk, but not answering phone nor working, and b) rest breaks or meal periods of 20 minutes or longer.

Is a non-exempt employee paid for time to travel between one work location and another work location?
Travel from one worksite to another during the workday is work time. Special rules exist for out-of-town overnight travel. Time spent commuting to and from work is not compensable work time. For specific details, please contact Human Resources.

May a non-exempt employee volunteer to work unpaid hours in his/her regular job in addition to his/her regular schedule?
No. All non-exempt employees must be compensated for all hours actually worked in his/her regular job. Any work over 40 hours in a workweek must be approved before it is worked by the employee's supervisor. Working unauthorized overtime may lead to disciplinary action, but employees will be paid for all hours worked, including overtime.

Can I use compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay?
No. Institutions in the private sector are not permitted to use compensatory time off.

I am a manager. How do I approve overtime?
Approval for time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek can be given by following the department's established guidelines. If there are not established guidelines, the department will need to develop these guidelines that are appropriate for the area and type of work performed, and communicate the process and expectations to the non-exempt employees. Contact your Human Resources Consultant for support if needed.

Can employers allow employees to have flexible schedules to accommodate for events in the evening or days which require a greater number of hours worked?
Yes. There are instances when a supervisor might permit flexible work hours to allow a non-exempt worker to work less hours in one work day to accommodate for another day when the employee had to work an event in the evening or work overtime to complete a project. Flexible schedules must account for work hours in the same workweek.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?
Contact your HR Consultant (find your consultant here).