Overtime

Department of Labor - FLSA | Kansas Administrative Regulation 1-5-24 | FLSA Overtime eLearning Module (myKUMC access required)

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to compensate hourly employees for all time worked. In addition, the Act requires employees to receive either overtime or compensatory time for all hours worked over forty in a workweek.
  • Compensatory time is earned at the rate of one and one-half hours off duty for each "overtime" hour worked. Maximum is 160 hours worked which is 240 hours compensatory time and it must be used in 180 days after it is earned or it is paid out as overtime.
  • Compliance with this federal law is the duty of each employee at the level of supervisor and above. Further, management has a duty to ensure that employees do not work additional, unscheduled time without authorization.
  • Help ensure compliance by providing each non-exempt employee periodic verbal and written reminders that they must work within their assigned schedules unless their supervisor authorizes a change in advance; and that they are required to report all time worked.
  • All hours worked must be entered into the payroll system. Departments should not keep track of "extra" hours or tasks "off the books".
  • Normally the lunch period is unpaid. However, unless the employee is fully relieved from duty during this lunch period, they must be paid. Unless you are prepared to compensate employees for this time and to avoid claims that "There is no one else to sit at the front desk", or "I had a project that needed finishing", have hourly employees take their lunch breaks away from their desks or work sites.
  • Employees who persist in working additional time without authorization may be disciplined after consultation with Human Resources.
  • It is easy to run afoul of this law without intending to violate it.
  • The US Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor enforces it and they are empowered to investigate telephone complaints.
  • Wage and Hour is not limited to investigating the complaining party's issue. They may review the entire Medical Center for compliance.
  • In addition to back pay, employers may be liable for monetary penalties for non-compliance or willful violations.

 

Keys to effective compliance

The Medical Center is required by law to record and maintain accurate records of all time worked by non-exempt employees.

Non-exempt employees must report all time worked for each day worked and departmental timekeepers/supervisors must report accurately all time worked for each day worked within each workweek, not just total hours for the week or the total hours for the pay period. This will ensure our legal compliance.

For audit purposes, it is critical that time reported by the employee and time reported by the timekeeper to Payroll match (with corrections as appropriate), that the total is the same for each day and each workweek and that all time worked is recorded and reported by both employee and timekeeper. Time reported to Payroll must be all time worked - not more and not less.

Employees must sign their time cards/time sheets every two weeks to certify the accuracy of the time worked before it is reported by the timekeeper to Payroll.

There cannot be any time worked that is "off the books". All time worked has to be reported on the day it was worked within each work week.

The Medical Center has determined that the workweek begins at midnight each Sunday morning and ends at midnight the following Saturday. Employees and timekeepers/supervisors cannot change the workweek to attempt to avoid compensating for overtime/compensatory time. Compensatory time is 1.5 hour for each hour worked.

The payroll system was set up to pay in fifteen minute increments when PeopleSoft was initiated in December 1995. Non-exempt employees who are late to work by eight minutes or more are not compensated for that fifteen-minute increment unless the supervisor authorizes use of sick or vacation leave as appropriate. This applies to employees who take too long for meal periods, leave early, or take additional time away from work. The supervisor must communicate this with the employee(s) affected.

Non-exempt employees cannot volunteer to work to avoid counting time as worked or to avoid overtime/compensatory time. Timekeepers and supervisors are not permitted by law to designate time worked as volunteering, any other form of uncompensated time, or to enter into any kind of agreement with a non-exempt employee to avoid counting and reporting time worked as such.

Supervisors have an option to avoid overtime/compensatory time only if they are able to provide time off within the same work week in an amount equal to the time worked that would have resulted in more than forty hours worked. For example, a non-exempt employee has to help finish a project and works ten hours on Monday. If the supervisor can provide the employee two hours off duty at any time during the remainder of that workweek only, then there is no overtime/compensatory time.

Non-exempt employees use sick and vacation leave in quarter-hour increments and it has to be recorded and reported on the day(s) it is taken. It cannot be added up and reported when it totals an hour, four hours, eight hours or some other combination.

Timekeepers report sick leave when the employee is ill. Timekeepers and supervisors cannot substitute vacation leave against the employee's wishes if the employee reports ill and has sick leave available. Timekeepers and supervisors may use vacation leave, if available, when an employee is ill, out of sick leave and wants to be compensated for time away from work.

Supervisors must ensure non-exempt employees are fully relieved for the meal period. The best way to accomplish this is to require employees to be away from their respective work stations during the meal period. To do otherwise creates the legal risk of being required at a later date to compensate for that time for the prior two years, or three years if the Department of Labor determines that the violation is willful.

There is no form of additional compensation for employees who do not take their paid breaks in the morning or afternoon. Some departments allow employees to combine their two fifteen minute paid breaks with the one-half hour unpaid meal break for an hour away from work. When this is done there are no other paid breaks available.

In general travel time is time worked. If a non-exempt employee works 8 - 5 Monday through Friday and travels during the normal work day the travel time is time worked and must be reported as such to Payroll. In this example, travel on Saturday and/or Sunday between 8 - 5 would be time worked and would result in overtime/compensatory time if the non-exempt employee works more than forty hours in the workweek. Time worked on Saturday and/or Sunday must be reported as time worked on the day worked. Just as with traveling from home to work and back home after work, travel time from home to the airport and back home from the airport does not count as time worked. Travel time outside 8 - 5 as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or automobile is not time worked. However, a non-exempt employee who drives a car outside 8 - 5 (in this example), would count driving time as time worked and it must be reported to Payroll as such.

A non-exempt employee who performs work while traveling must be compensated for all time worked. It is the duty of the employee to report it accurately and that of the timekeeper/supervisor to report all such time worked to Payroll accurately.

Non-exempt employees do not have a right, independent of their supervisor, to decide they will work additional hours either to make up for time not worked or to obtain overtime/compensatory time. Supervisors may limit the time employees work to their regularly scheduled hours and days and direct that no additional time be worked without their advance approval. Of course, supervisors must communicate that to their employees so the employees have a clear expectation of the requirement before they work any additional time. Should an employee work additional time without the supervisor's advance approval it must be reported by the employee, recorded and reported to Payroll for payment. With prior review and approval by Human Resources, supervisors may discipline non-exempt employees who work additional time without advance approval.

Anyone who falsifies timekeeping records will be subject to disciplinary action dismissal.

A wage and Hour representative of the United States Department of Labor is only a phone call away. One call from an upset employee can result in the initiation of a lengthy investigation which may be spread across the Medical Center at the discretion of the investigator.

Last modified: Sep 04, 2014
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