Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act established minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards. It affects full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

The FLSA requires that employees whose jobs are designated as nonexempt keep accurate records of time worked, be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked, and receive an overtime premium for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.  At Auburn University, employees -- “student” and “non-student” -- whose positions are designated as “nonexempt” (not exempt from the obligations and requirements for the accurate recording of working time, right to a minimum wage and overtime pay provisions of the FLSA) are covered by the FLSA. The information that is published on this page applies to all AU employees whose jobs are currently designated as nonexempt.

Call (334) 844-4145 or email univhr@auburn.edu if you have additional questions about the FLSA.  

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

President Franklin RooseveltThe Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 originated in President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. It was a landmark piece of legislation that had a significant impact on the labor movement in the United States. The FLSA set nationwide standards for employees of organizations engaged in interstate commerce, operations of a certain size, and public agencies. Still active today, it affects millions of full- and part-time workers.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the first minimum wage (25 cents per hour) was established. The workweek was limited to 44 hours per week, which was revised in 1940 to 40 hours per week. Standards were developed to keep records of hours worked and wages paid. These same standards allowed employers to keep track of overtime owed to employees who exceeded the standard workweek.

Perhaps most significantly, the Fair Labor Standards Act banned child labor. Children under age 14 were no longer legally allowed to work. Exceptions were made for the agricultural industry and some family businesses. Children under age 18 were restricted from “hazardous” jobs, including mining and some factory jobs. The ban on child labor greatly decreased the number of children harmed by bad working conditions.

A 1963 amendment to the FLSA called the Equal Pay Act prohibited differences in pay based on sex. Under this provision, women who were often paid wages lower than a man in the same position could now demand equal pay. The Equal Pay Act was an important step in leveling the often uneven work field in which women competed with men for the same jobs but had to settle for making less money.

More than 20 amendments have been made to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Most of these were made to increase the minimum wage, which has gone from 25 cents in 1938 to $7.25 today.

Enforcement of FLSA standards is handled by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Standards Administration, Wage-Hour Division. The Equal Pay Act is an exception; its enforcement was transferred to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1979.

-Gale Encyclopedia of United States Economic History

Exempt and Nonexempt

Determining a job's FLSA designation
scalesThe Compensation and Classification unit of the Human Resources Department is responsible for the determination and monitoring of compliant FLSA designations for all jobs at the University.  There are two exemption tests that determine a job’s FLSA designation:

A.) “Minimum Salary Level” – Employees who earn $23,660 per year or less (the Minimum Salary Level threshold) have their positions designated as nonexempt, and must keep accurate records of hours worked and be paid overtime premium (one and one-half times their hourly rate of pay) for all hours worked in excess of 40 in the designated workweek. 

B.) “Duties Test” – Employees who earn more than the Minimum Salary Level threshold may have their positions designated exempt only if their primary job duty(ies) passes one or more of the following tests, as specified by the Department of Labor, Fact Sheet #17A:

  • Executive Exemption: Primary duty is the management of the enterprise or a department; regularly directs the work of two or more employees; authority to hire or fire other employees, or their recommendations regarding employment status or advancement of other employees are given particular weight.

  • Administrative Exemption: The employee’s primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work related to the management or general business operation of the employer or customers. Primary duty also includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

  • Professional Exemption: Primary duty is the performance of work requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction; primary duty is the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. “Teachers are exempt if … they are employed and engaged … as a teacher in an educational establishment.” The “Minimum Salary Level” test does “…not apply to bona fide teachers.” (Refer to DOL, Fact Sheet #17A)

What does the nonexempt job designation mean? 
  • Employees whose positions are designated as nonexempt must receive overtime premium (1 1/2 times their hourly rate of pay) for all hours worked in excess of 40 in the designated workweek.

  • Employees whose positions are designated as nonexempt must accurately track their time worked. At Auburn University, this is primarily done through the timekeeping system Kronos.

  • Employees whose positions are designated as nonexempt are paid bi-weekly (26 times each year) rather than monthly (12 times each year.)

Accurate Time Reporting

clock.pngThe complete and accurate recording of actual working and leave hours is not only an Auburn University policy but more importantly a federal law which ensures that employees are paid fairly for the work that they perform.

The FLSA covers “student” and “non-student” employees whose positions are designated as “nonexempt” (not exempt from the obligations and requirements for the accurate recording of working time, the right to a minimum wage and overtime pay.)

Auburn University employees whose positions are designated as nonexempt are required by the FLSA to maintain accurate daily records of work time — usually through Kronos, the electronic timekeeping system used at Auburn. They must record all actual hours worked as well as paid and unpaid absences. They are not allowed to voluntarily work “off the clock” without compensation, as this is a violation of federal law.

Time records, whether through Kronos or paper (only when Kronos isn’t an option), must reflect actual starting and stopping times of work as opposed to the established work schedule. For example, if the work schedule is 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., but the employee worked from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., then these actual hours worked must be recorded.

It is also important to note that since this is a federal law requirement, no exception can be granted regarding this legal compliance requirement.

For more information, visit the TigerTime website or email tigertime@auburn.edu.

How to Clock In and Out 
  • To clock in or out at a terminal, all you need to do is swipe your employee badge

  • To clock in or out at a computer:

    • Visit autime.auburn.edu

    • Submit your AU user identification and password

    • Click “Record Timestamp”

For Employees with Multiple Jobs

  • At the terminal

    • Press corresponding blue button for “Active Multiple Jobs”

    • Swipe AU Badge

    • Select List

    • Select a Job via the up/down arrows

    • Enter to select

    • To clock out, swipe your AU badge

-If you do not select a job, your pay may be incorrect

  • At the computer

    • Visit autime.auburn.edu 

    • Submit your AU user identification and password

    • Select a Job (if necessary)

    • Click Record Timestamp

Payroll Scheduling

calendar-1.pngAuburn University employees whose positions are designated as nonexempt are paid bi-weekly (26 times per year) rather than monthly (12 times per year).  Each pay period, they are compensated for: actual hours worked; leave hours taken; and overtime hours that are earned.

If an employee whose job is designated as nonexempt works more than 40 hours in a workweek, they will receive either overtime premium pay or compensatory time off for all hours worked over 40 in that workweek.  Auburn University Payroll Schedules

Business Travel

Note: Definitions for bolded words are listed below.

If an employee whose position is designated as nonexempt travels on University business, he or she will need to keep track of his or her working hours to comply with FLSA guidelines:

  • Any time spent while in Travel Status where the impacted employee is performing Principal Activities or related Incidental Activities is accounted for as Working Travel Time, whether or not on a Regular Working Day, and regardless of the time of day those activities are being performed.

  • All time spent in Travel Status that coincides with Regular Working Hours, whether or not it occurs on a Regular Working Day, less the normal Home to Work Travel Time, is accounted for as Working Travel Time.

  • Time spent while in Travel Status which does not coincide with Regular Working Hours will be accounted for according to the type of trip — Day or Away:

    • Day

      • As a driver or a passenger: All time spent less the normal Home to Work Travel is accounted for as Working Travel Time.

    • Away

      • As a driver: All time spent while driving, less the normal Home to Work Travel, is accounted for as Working Travel Time

      • As a passenger: Not all time spent as a passenger is considered Working Travel Time. Links to forms that can help you determine what is considered Working Travel Time are available below: 

Definitions for Administering University Staff (Nonexempt) Business Travel
  • briefcase.pngRegular Working Days: The employee’s regularly scheduled working days; typically Monday through Friday, or, as otherwise practiced in the work unit.

  • Regular Working Hours: The employee’s regularly scheduled working hours, typically 7:45 a.m. through 4:45 p.m., or, as otherwise practiced in the work unit.

  • Non-Working Days: Those days which are not Regular Working Days, typically Saturday and Sunday.

  • Working Time: Time which will be accounted for as those hours for which the employee will be compensated.

  • Home to Work Travel: Travel between an employee’s home and the regular work location. This time is not compensable to the employee.

  • Travel Status: The process of being in-transit to and/or from a destination.

  • Working Travel Time: Time during Travel Status, which will be accounted for as those hours for which the employee will be compensated.

  • Day Travel: Time spent traveling by bus, train, airplane, helicopter, automobile, etc. to an assignment in another city/town and returning home during the same day.

  • Away Travel: Time spent traveling by bus, train, airplane, helicopter, automobile, etc. to an assignment in another city/town which keeps the employee from home overnight; returning home on a subsequent day.

  • Normal Meal Time: The prescribed time (at least 30 minutes) during the employee’s Regular Working Hours which is allocated as Non-Working Time (unpaid) for meals.

  • Principal Activity: The primary duty(ies) or tasks of the employee’s job for which the employee will be compensated.

  • Incidental Activity: Those activities performed by the employee which are related to the Principal Activity(ies) of the job regardless of when they occur, and include, among others, civic and charitable activities, equipment maintenance, shift changes, time spent on grievances, medical treatment, pre-employment activities, rest periods, on-call time, training and waiting time

  • Deliberate Ignorance: When an employer knows or has reason to believe that an employee is continuing work after Regular Work Hours, and/or Regular Work Days.  It does not exempt the employer from liability to compensate the employee for those working hours, regardless of whether such time is recorded.

After-Hours Network Access

wifi.pngMany Auburn University employees use technology after normal working hours, often by checking email, responding to a text message, or answering a phone call.  Employees whose positions are designated as nonexempt and their supervisors should note that the use of mobile and electronic devices after normally scheduled work hours needs to be considered as hours worked – time for which the employee must be compensated.

We encourage employees and supervisors to discuss this requirement to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the supervisor’s expectations regarding the use of technology after normal working hours.

Regardless, if an employee whose position is designated as nonexempt uses technology devices to access work email, etc., this time is considered to be either “incidental” or “principal” work activity and must be recorded.

Overtime Premium

hourglass with dollar signsIn addition to a regular salary, employees whose positions are designated as nonexempt receive “overtime” premium based on their regular rate for any time worked in excess of 40 hours during Auburn University’s designated workweek; the established university-wide standard work week begins at 12:01 a.m. Sunday and ends at midnight the following Saturday. By law, if these employees have overtime hours during the workweek, they will receive overtime premium of 1 1/2 times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours during the designated workweek.  

Compensatory Time

As a public employer, University departments have the option of providing compensatory time off in lieu of the earned overtime premium pay. However, some departments may choose not to offer compensatory time, but instead, pay premium pay for all overtime hours worked.

Compensatory time is also paid at 1 1/2 times the hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours during the designated workweek.  In the example to the right, impacted employees would receive three hours of compensatory time for the two overtime hours that they worked.

If a department offers compensatory time but an employee would like to receive premium pay for overtime, he or she should request that in writing to his or her timekeeper or supervisor.  The employee has the right to elect to receive overtime premium pay, even if compensatory time off is offered.

Premium Pay Example

As an example, if an employee's annual salary is $41,600, or $800 per week, but they work 42 hours in a designated workweek, they receive $60 in premium pay:

First 40 hours $20 per hour x 40 hours = $800
+2 OT premium hours at $30 per hour (1 ½ x $20 normal hourly rate) = $60
Pay for Designated Workweek =$860

Common Questions

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)? The Fair Labor Standards Act, which was signed into law in 1938, established minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards. It affects full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

What is the FLSA Regulation? The FLSA requires that employees whose jobs are designates as nonexempt keep accurate records of time worked, be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked, and receive an overtime premium for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.

Who is covered by the FLSA? Employees -- “student” and “non-student” -- whose positions are designated as “nonexempt” (not exempt from the obligations and requirements for the accurate recording of working time, right to a minimum wage and overtime pay provisions of the FLSA.).

What does the Minimum Salary Level include? The Minimum Salary Level threshold as defined by the DOL includes the established base salary of the primary job; and does not include benefits, supplemental pay, etc.

Who are the accountable parties? Faculty, A&P and Staff Supervisors – Any employee who directly supervises other employees whose positions, by virtue of 1) the minimum salary test, or 2) the work they are performing, are designated as “nonexempt.”

What is the supervisory responsibility under the FLSA? Supervisors have the direct responsibility and obligation to ensure that all working hours and leave hours for employees in positions designated as nonexempt are properly accounted for and recorded on the approved time keeping system(s). Fulfilling this responsibility protects the legal rights of employees and facilitates the compliance obligations of the University.

Can an employee's position be designated as nonexempt even if they are a supervisor or a manager? Supervisors and managers who earn less than the proposed minimum salary threshold level will, by law, have their positions designated as “nonexempt” – regardless of the primary duties (including managing or supervising others) that otherwise may have qualified for an exemption status of “exempt” under the “duties test.”  In addition, some "working supervisors" whose primary duty is not management, as defined by the FLSA, may have their jobs designated as nonexempt.

What are the daily recordkeeping requirements for nonexempt staff work time?  Employees whose positions are designated as nonexempt are required by the FLSA to maintain accurate daily records of work time. They must record actual hours worked as well as paid and unpaid absences. Time records, whether electronic (Kronos) or paper (only when Kronos isn’t an option) must reflect actual starting and stopping times of work as opposed to established work schedule. For example, if the work schedule is 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., but the employee worked 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., then these actual hours worked must be recorded.

Is it OK to work outside the normal University schedule as long as it totals 40 hours per week?  Regular University office hours are 7:45 to 11:45 a.m. and 12:45 to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. These times may vary depending on your departmental schedule or your position. It may be necessary for you to work outside your normal schedule because of emergency situations. If you have any questions concerning your work schedule, please direct them to your unit supervisor or Human Resources Liaison.

Are supervisors allowed to dictate your work hours or schedule on a weekly basis or do they have to establish non-changing work hours? Supervisors have the right to establish your schedule which may periodically fluctuate based on special projects, events, or other pertinent reasons. However, these changes should be the exception.

Do I clock in and out for lunch? An employee whose job is designated as nonexempt must clock out for lunch. Human Resources encourages employees to take at least 30 minutes, and preferably an hour, away from their desk or work station for lunch.

Do I clock in and out for breaks?  Supervisors may authorize two 15-minute breaks, one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon, for employees whose job is designated as nonexempt. Employees may leave their work area during their break unless notified otherwise by their supervisor. Where it is necessary to have someone on duty at all times, care should be taken to make sure the work assignment is covered. Breaks are not cumulative; employees cannot forgo a break time to use later.

How do you clock in and out when you leave the office and do not return? Keep track of the time you worked and then report that time to your timekeeper as soon as possible – preferably by the morning of the next working day.

What do I do if there is a time dispute? We encourage employees and supervisors to work together regarding scheduling -- especially if work is necessary outside of normal working hours. However, if there is a time dispute that cannot be resolved by the employee and supervisor, then you may contact your Human Resources Liaison or Employee Relations.

How does overtime premium work?  
  • The standard workweek for nonexempt employees is 40 hours. During peak workloads or emergencies, it may be necessary that you work overtime (over 40 hours in a week). In such cases you will receive overtime premium at 1 1/2 times the regular rate -- either as overtime premium pay, or compensatory time if it is offered by your department. (Some departments may choose not to offer compensatory time off.)
  • By law, you have the right to choose and receive overtime premium pay, even if your department offers compensatory time off, and regardless of a department's budget. 
  • Overtime is calculated for the period of each workweek, not on a daily basis. Only time actually worked, plus holiday time, counts toward overtime; leave time taken does not count toward the 40-hour period for overtime purposes.
  • Any overtime work must be approved by your supervisor prior to the work being performed. 

What is the overtime premium for employees whose positions are designated as exempt? Employees whose positions are designated as exempt are not entitled to overtime premium, either in salary or compensatory time off.

If I know I will have overtime on Friday and Saturday, should I try to work less earlier in the week? In this situation, you should talk to your supervisor by early in the workweek to determine the proper work schedule.

If I work overtime and want overtime premium pay instead of compensatory time off, do I have to email my supervisor each time I want premium pay? No, you do not have to email your supervisor every time. You should send an initial email to your supervisors and timekeeper to inform them that you would like overtime premium pay.

How long can I bank my compensatory time off? Compensatory time-off may be accumulated in an amount up to 240 hours (for 160 overtime hours worked). Once the maximum compensatory time is accumulated, any additional overtime worked must be paid as overtime in the current pay period.

How much will I be paid for working overtime on a holiday? It is 1 1/2 times the holiday pay rate.  

Last updated: 08/30/2018