March 24, 2020
Kenyon is suspending its residential program and transitioning to remote instruction. Read more about Kenyon's response to COVID-19.
What is the difference between staff and administration? Why are there position levels? What is the difference between Exempt and Non-Exempt? What is "comp time," and who is entitled to use it? If you've wondered about the answers to these questions, Human Resources is here to help!
Employment in the United States is governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. The purpose of this act is to establish a minimum wage, set guidelines for overtime pay and record-keeping, and enforce child labor standards. The FLSA is protection for all full time and part time workers in the U.S.
Non-Exempt Employees are entitled to a minimum wage and overtime pay at time and a half for hours over 40 in a work week. The minimum wage and overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are among the nation's most important worker protections. In addition, because Non-exempt employees are paid by the hour, recordkeeping listing the number of hours worked per week and pay period is required by the FLSA.
The FLSA defines an exempt worker as someone who is exempt from the requirements set forth for non-exempt workers, such as a minimum wage, overtime pay, documentation of hours worked, and wages earned. This means that an exempt employee is unable to receive overtime pay, regardless of the amount of hours worked over 40 per week. Because the hours of an exempt employee may vary, it is not required to formally document them nor can a minimum hourly wage be based upon them. An employee with the status of exempt must be a "bona fide executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, or computer employee."
To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties. You can find the qualifications here:
Exempt employees must also be paid on a salary basis of not less than $455 per week. Job titles do not determine exempt status. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the Department of Labor’s regulations.
Here is a helpful PowerPoint presentation that explains exemption and job duties in detail.
All terms (staff, administration, faculty) indicate that a worker is an employee of the College. However, in terms of defining a position description, staff is meant to denote an hourly, non-exempt employee who is protected under the FLSA for the purposes of overtime pay, a minimum hourly wage, and recordkeeping. Administrator is meant to denote a salaried, exempt employee who is not protected under the FLSA for the purposes of overtime pay, a minimum hourly wage, and recordkeeping. You may have heard the term administrative interchanged with executive and/or professional. Regardless of the terminology, all are meant to denote the unprotected FLSA status as long as the requirements linked above are met.
"Comp time" or compensatory time off is a term used to describe a practice of substituting time off in lieu of overtime pay for public workers. A public worker is defined as one that works for a public agency that is a "State, a political subdivision of a State, or an interstate governmental agency" and is entitled to one and one half hours for each hour of overtime worked as compensatory time off, in lieu of one and one half hours of overtime paid. Because Kenyon is a private, non-profit, educational institution, we do not fall under the category of a public agency, and compensatory time off is not allowed for private employers under the FLSA.
However, for non-exempt staff, Kenyon's Staff and Administration Handbook states that, "...when occasional evening or weekend work is required, it is intended, when possible, to adjust work schedules so that employees can take an equivalent number of hours off prior to the scheduled additional hours. Please note that this MUST be done in the same work week and is subject to all sick, personal, family and vacation time policies." Therefore, even though Kenyon, as a private employer, is not eligible to use Compensatory Time under the FLSA, we have attempted to provide a tool to employees and budget managers to manage time off and budget expenditures, hour for hour, in lieu of overtime pay. This "comp time" tool for employees and budget managers will help the department stay within budget, while at the same time allowing non-exempt employees time off for additional hours worked outside of the norm.
The Handbook also notes, "Supervisors are expected to effectively manage weekly staff schedules to avoid overtime when possible. If extra hours in a work week are unavoidable, and equivalent time off during the same work week is not possible, federal wage and hour guidelines require Kenyon to pay the extra hours for that week.
If you are a non-exempt employee or if you supervise a non-exempt employee, it is crucial that all worked hours are tracked completely and correctly and recorded accurately, so that non-exempt employees receive their correct and due compensation for the amount of hours worked under the FLSA. This includes hours outside of your normal schedule and/or hours defined as overtime. This is one of the nation's most important labor protections.