Information for OU Managers

There are several things managers with affected employees should take into consideration as OU moves toward this transition. Find more information for Norman managers here. 

Important Reminders for HSC Managers

Fulfilling the new FLSA exempt regulations is a high priority; HR will continue to review personnel data to ensure compliance. 

Tips for Navigating the FLSA Exempt to Non-exempt Employee Transition

A. Leave accrual rules for exempt (salaried) and non-exempt (hourly) employees are calculated differently, specifically affected are part-time employees who transition to non-exempt.  Employees who are 1.0 FTE may notice some slight fluctuation in their accrual amounts.

Leave accrual for exempt employees is tiered, based upon FTE. Exempt employees working at least .50 FTE accrue paid leave in proportion to their FTE appointment as follows:

  • .5 FTE through .59 FTE, will accrue leave at 50%
  • .6 FTE through .74 FTE, will accrue at 75%
  • .75 FTE and above will accrue at 100%

Nonexempt employees accrue paid leave on a pro-rata basis depending on the number of hours paid.  For most employees, their accrual will reflect their actual FTE. For example, 6 year employee who is .75 FTE, may see their biweekly PTO accrual go from 9.23 hours to 6.92 hours.

B. The transition from exempt to non-exempt will not create a change in retirement or benefits eligibility.

C. As a public employer, the university can provide compensatory time off in lieu of paying for overtime worked with the employee’s agreement or understanding. The Staff Handbook provides additional guidance for compensatory time [excerpt below]. The Compensatory Time Election form can be found on the TAL website

Compensatory time is an alternative method for compensating employees who work overtime. No overtime is to be worked, however, unless it is approved in advance by the employee's supervisor. FLSA-exempt employees are not normally eligible for compensatory time. Exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance by the appropriate provost/vice president. No employee shall be required to receive compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay unless an agreement or understanding is reached by the employer and employee before the performance of the work. Should an FLSA- nonexempt employee be required by a supervisor to work overtime, the employee may be given the choice between receiving monetary compensation or taking compensatory time-and-one-half off at a mutually agreeable time.

Compensatory time is to be taken within one year of the date of accumulation or the employee is to be compensated monetarily. No more than 90 hours of compensatory time (60 hours of overtime worked) can be accumulated. Terminating employees are to use or be paid for compensatory time hours prior to the effective date of their termination. Transferring employees will be required to use compensatory hours prior to transfer or be paid by the department in which compensatory time accrued. For employees appointed to work at an FTE less than 1.00, the policy will not be applicable unless hours worked in a work week exceed 40. Such an individual may accumulate those hours worked over 40 hours in a work week as compensatory time subject to the provisions of the compensatory time policy. Questions regarding the compensatory time policy should be directed to Human Resources.

Considerations for Managers

1. Managing a perceived loss of status felt by affected employees.

Managers will need to be prepared to address a perceived loss of status possibly felt by affected employees when they change from monthly to hourly employees. Remember this is a federal initiative and no one is being targeted. This move is not a demotion, it's a nationwide shift. It's important to remind employees that this move means they will be paid for all the work they do and sometimes at time and a half when their work takes more than 40 hours per work week.

It's also important to stress the benefits of receiving a biweekly paycheck. Benefits of getting paid every two weeks instead of monthly include:
  • Predictable pay schedule for employees
  • Being paid twice a month can make it easier for employees to budget personal expenses
  • Employees will get 26 paychecks per year instead of 12

2. Helping your team adjust to the change.

Team dynamics also need to be kept in mind with the transition of some employees from monthly to hourly. It's possible that employees with similar titles will get separated into different categories. 

You may need to ask your teams to only meet during regular business hours and to limit weekend and evening collaborations. You may also need to restrict after hours texts and emails, any time spent on those is payable.

3. Studying and managing time.

4. Plan your budget.

This federal overtime change and the tight budget environment at OU combine to make it especially important to carefully forecast your future personnel costs including potential new overtime costs.
  • Review your budget from two perspectives: 1) the potential overtime costs when affected employees become eligible for overtime pay and 2) the cost of increasing the salary of some affected employees to meet the new threshold salary of $47,476. 
  • Consider offering comp time instead of overtime pay. Employees and supervisors must both agree to use comp time. Comp time balances are paid out upon termination. 
  • Consider adjusting workloads and job responsibilities to control overtime costs by either shifting work to other employees or hiring additional staff. 
  • Prepare for the 2020 automatic increases to the salary thresholds. Salaries may need to be adjusted again to meet the threshold and maintain an employee’s exemption from overtime rules.  

5. Be prepared to address overtime.

As a manager it's your job to address any overtime issues occurring with employees. Whether the employee is intentionally trying to work more hours or doesn't understand that they can't work as a volunteer, it's your responsibility to oversee the situation.
  • Implement policies and procedures to prevent unintended overtime costs.
    o   Develop communication practices with employees to remain aware of work occurring after hours.
    o   Employees should get approval from their manager to work after hours. Though, if they work more than 40 hours per week even without approval, the overtime must be paid.
    o   Consider restricting emails, texts, and other work-related activities to regular workhours. Remember that any time spent addressing work-related issues must be compensated.   
  • Working off the clock or volunteering additional time is not an option. Worked overtime hours must be paid.

FAQs - Tracking Time

What method should these employees use to track their time?

These employees should check with their supervisors and use the same method and rules used by other hourly employees in their department. If departments don't have hourly time tracking processes in place, they should contact Payroll and Employee Services for assistance at 325-2961. 

Should these employees use time sheets?

Yes, employees must track their work hours using the same method and rules used by other hourly employees in their department. 

Timesheets (electronic and paper) serve as the university’s authority to pay an employee. An employee's timesheet must be verified and approved by the employee's supervisor or the supervisor's designee who should be aware of the employee's attendance.

Completed timesheets require the written or electronic signatures of the employee and the supervisor. These signatures certify that, to the best of their knowledge, the information provided on the documents is true and correct. Any changes made to the timesheet by the supervisor must be acknowledged by the employee.

How much will an employee's biweekly paycheck be?

You can estimate your biweekly paycheck amount by doing the following calculation:
monthly pay x 12 / 26 = approximate biweekly amount

Why do hourly employees have to be paid biweekly?

The university is required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to maintain employee time records on non-exempt employees showing the number of hours worked each workweek. For employees on the Norman campus, the work week begins Saturday at 12:01 am and ends Friday at midnight.  All non-exempt employees who work in excess of 40 hours in a work week are eligible for overtime or compensatory time.  Paying our nonexempt employees biweekly ensures compliance with FLSA regulations as the pay period begins and ends with the university work week.  

What days make up the workweek?

For employees in Norman programs, the workweek begins Saturday at 12:01am and ends at 12 midnight Friday. 

For employees in HSC programs, the workweek is Sunday-Saturday.

What activities are payable as work time?

All time spent performing work-related activities permitted by the department is work time, whether the employee performed these duties on campus or at home or at a place other than the normal work location.

Work time less than one hour should be converted to tenths using the hourly time conversion chart located on the HR website.

Can an employee 'volunteer' to work?

Hourly employees may only volunteer for service that is completely unrelated to their ordinary work, including special events such as United Way and Commencement, unless that is the employee’s assigned job.

Are hourly employees paid for break and meal times?

Break times are not required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, departments may provide a paid 20- minute break for every 4 hours worked. Breaks should be scheduled with the supervisor and reported as hours worked. Break periods may not be combined with a defined meal period or another break period, used to report to work late or leave early, or used in conjunction with any type of leave.

Meal times are usually unpaid when the employee is relieved of all duties and responsibilities. Generally, to be considered non-work time, meal periods must be at least 30 minutes long. If an employee is required or permitted to perform work during their meal time, the time is payable.

Are hourly employees paid for Paid Time Off and university holidays?

Paid Time Off (PTO) and university-paid holidays payable. When operations of the university require the employee to work on the holiday, the employee will be granted an equal amount of time off with pay on a date mutually agreed upon by the employee and their supervisor.

Scheduled paid time off and designated university-paid holidays are considered hours worked for the computation of overtime for employees in Norman programs. Administrative leave and unscheduled paid time off are not included when computing overtime.

What is overtime?

Hourly employees who work over 40 hours in a work week are eligible for overtime compensation. Overtime is paid at 1.5 times the employee's regular rate of pay. Working overtime must be approved in advance by the supervisor. 

For employees in Norman programs, scheduled paid time off and designated university-paid holidays are considered hours worked for the computation of overtime. Administrative leave and unscheduled paid time off are not included when computing overtime.

Overtime is not...
Working more than eight hours in a day does not require overtime pay. Part-time employees do not accrue overtime unless they work more than 40 hours in the work week.

How is overtime handled if the employee works in more than one department?

Hourly employees accepting work in a department other than their primary one are responsible for notifying the secondary department of their employment status with the university. Whenever the combined hours of work of hourly employees exceed 40 hours in a work week, overtime pay must be paid for the excess hours. In each such instance, the budget unit in which the employee exceeds 40 hours will be responsible for paying overtime.  

What is comp time?

Compensatory time (comp time) is an alternative method for compensating hourly employees who work more than 40 hours in a work week. Comp time is earned at one and one-half times the number of overtime hours worked. Comp time can be used by the employee like paid time off.

Accrued comp time must be taken within one year of accumulation. Comp time older than one year will be automatically paid to the employee.

No more than 90 hours of comp time (60 overtime hours worked) may be accumulated, with any excess overtime hours paid automatically to the employee.

A Compensatory Time Acknowledgement form should be signed by the employee and on file in the department before comp time is accrued. 

What about getting paid when on-call?

An employee who is required to remain on call may need to be compensated for on-call hours. To determine whether an employee should be compensated for on-call hours depends on whether the employee is ‘engaged to be waiting’ or ‘waiting to be engaged’. Time spent ‘engaged to be waiting’ is payable work time because it is usually short, spent on the employer’s premises, and insufficient for the employee to use for his or her own personal purposes. Time spent ‘waiting to be engaged’ is not work time because the employee is freed from all duties and responsibilities for a definite period of time and has enough time to pursue personal business before returning to work. All working time for any on-call response is payable when he hourly employee is called into service.

What about tracking time while traveling?

There are specific rules for tracking work time while hourly employees are traveling for work. Learn about these travel rules here.  

Talking Points

Affected Employees

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