Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”) Wage and Hour Notices

Wage and Salary, Overtime and Fair Labor Standards

Exempt Staff

Exempt staff are paid semi-monthly and are exempt from the overtime provisions of the state and federal wage and hour laws. Under special circumstances, supervisors and managers have the discretion to grant time off with pay (“flex time”) to exempt staff that have worked substantial extra hours in any given work week. For exempt employees, flex time does not need to be used during the same work week. It may be used at any later date. Flex time must be pre-approved by an employee’s supervisor.

Non-Exempt Staff

Non-exempt staff are entitled to overtime pay under the state and federal wage and hour laws. Overtime pay for non-exempt staff is calculated as time and one-half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week. Flex time may be granted to non-exempt employees to ensure that they are not working more than 40 hours in a work week. Flex time must be scheduled and taken during the work week in which the extra hours were incurred; by the end of the work week (i.e., Wednesday at midnight) the staff member must be paid for all hours worked that week. Flex time may not be accrued and taken in a subsequent week or weeks.

For the purposes of computing overtime for non-exempt staff, in addition to hours actually worked:

  • All paid time off including vacation, holiday, personal business, jury duty, etc., except sick time, is counted as time worked.
  • Any work performed by a non-exempt employee on a regular University holiday is paid at the overtime rate. Temporary staff employees are also entitled to holiday pay if a holiday falls on a regularly scheduled work day.
  • Employees working a period or shift of more than six hours that extends over the noonday meal period (11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.) must take a meal period of 30 minutes between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  Employees working a shift that starts before 11:00 a.m. and continues past 7:00 p.m. will be provided an additional meal period of 20 minutes between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Employees working a shift of more than six hours between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. will be provided a meal period of 45 minutes midway through the shift.
  • Employees must receive uninterrupted meal periods, and employees are not allowed to work through meal periods to make up lost work time or to leave work early.  In addition, the meal period may not be taken at the end of an employee’s work day in order to leave work before the normal quitting time.  Meal periods of at least 30 minutes are unpaid.  Employees who do not receive an uninterrupted meal period must contact their supervisor or department director immediately.
  • Staff members are allowed a paid work break of up to 15 minutes in each half of the workday. This time is intended to attend to personal needs and cannot be accumulated or used for early dismissal or to extend a meal period.
  • Time spent traveling to/from a special one-day out-of-town work assignment is considered compensable work time, except for the time that the employee normally would spend commuting to the regular work site and for regular bona fide meal periods.  If an employee is required to travel away from home and stay overnight as part of a work assignment, this “travel away from home” is compensable work time when it cuts across the employee’s regular workday.  The time is not only hours worked on regular work days during normal working hours, but also during corresponding hours on non-work days.  Thus, if an employee regularly works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, the travel time during these hours is work time on Saturday and Sunday as well as on the other day. If the employee is required to drive as part of the travel away from home and this travel occurs outside normal working hours, this time is considered compensable work time as well.
  • Time spent putting on mandatory uniforms or protective clothing is part of a job, so that time is compensable.
  • Temporary employees should not be assigned overtime before bargaining unit employees, except in cases of emergency or to finish a job.
  • If employees are called back to work after having punched out for the day, they are guaranteed four hours of pay or four hours of work. This does not include reporting early for their shifts. If employees are scheduled for overtime in advance (i.e., the day before), they will be guaranteed 2 hours of pay or two hours of work. In both cases, employees must actually report for the work. If the assignment is cancelled beforehand, there is no guarantee. If there is work available and the employee refuses, the guaranteed minimum is forfeited.

Wage and Salary, Pay Rates

Minimum Wage and Salary

State and federal laws establish minimum wages for non-exempt employees and minimum salary levels for some exempt employees. Non-exempt employees must receive at least the higher of the state or federal hourly minimum wage for hours worked.

Exempt employees must receive at least the higher of the state or federal minimum salary level (to the extent a minimum salary level applies), regardless of full-time equivalent (commonly referred to as “FTE”). In addition, minimum hourly rates for all non-student employees, including temporary employees, must comply with the SU Fair Wage Initiative.

Category Pay Bands

Category pay bands are used to classify full-time and part-time staff positions with some exceptions. The pay bands are analyzed each year in comparison to internal data and market information and adjusted accordingly.

Pay Rates, Faculty

Faculty salaries and salary increases are determined by the respective department chairs and deans.

Pay Rates, Staff

It is the University’s policy that no staff member will be paid below the minimum of the applicable pay band without exception. Above the minimum, managers and supervisors have discretion to set pay rates within the applicable recommended pay band. Any recommendations for pay above the maximum of the pay band must be approved by the appropriate executive team member.

Pay Rates, Part-time Staff

Pay for part-time staff is managed under the same guidelines as for regular full-time employees, with adjustments for reduced work schedule.

A staff member in a non-exempt job who works part-time will be paid the regular hourly wage for the position, multiplied by the number of hours actually worked. Staff members in non-exempt jobs will be eligible for overtime in accordance with state and federal wage and hour laws. (i.e., overtime is payable for hours worked in excess of 40 per week).

An exempt part-time job should be assigned to the appropriate job category as if it were a full-time job. The staff member’s skills and competencies should be assessed as if he/she was working full-time and an appropriate annualized pay level determined. Once the pay level is determined, it should be pro-rated to reflect the agreed-to hours.

Pay Rates, Bargaining Unit Faculty and Staff

Pay rates including increases are detailed in the collective bargaining agreements.

Pay Rate Increases

  • Discretionary Increases – Discretionary increases in base pay are performance-based increases. Managers, supervisors and department heads have the authority to grant discretionary pay increases within budget constraints and with approval from the appropriate person within the division.
  • Annual increases – Annual increases are determined in conjunction with the budget cycle. Responsibility Centers provide funding for all Center expenditures including salary and fringe benefit increases, whereas Support Units are provided an annual increment to fund salary and associated fringe benefit increase expense. Each year, the University provides a pro forma percent increment for salary and fringe benefit increases, which define the amount of the salary and fringe benefit pool for Support Unit increases and serves as a guideline for Responsibility Centers. Increases are granted based on merit.

Pay Rate Reductions

Supervisors, managers and department heads, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, have the discretion to reduce a staff member’s pay in the case of:

  • Voluntary transfers to a lower-classified position; or
  • Reclassification of a staff member’s position to a lower pay category based on reorganization or budget exigencies where the prospect of accepting a lower rated/lower paying position is an alternative to termination or layoff.

In addition, supervisors, managers and department heads, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, have the discretion to freeze a staff member’s pay for an appropriate period or mitigate the reduction in combination with some period of pay freeze.


If you have questions about compensation or work schedules please contact your Senior Human Resources Business Partner or the Office of Human Resources at 315-443-4042.