FAQs about the new Fair Labor Standards Act Regulations

The Department of Labor (DOL) has published new regulations under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) increasing the minimum salary required to be earned by an employee in order for that employee to be “exempt” from overtime requirements.

If you have further questions, please contact Human Resources.

  1. What is the FLSA?
  2. How is the FLSA changing?
  3. What does this mean for me?
  4. I don’t want to be an hourly worker. I don’t care if I get overtime. Can I waive this change?
  5. I am paid a salary and my job title is manager. Can I still be paid a salary even though I earn less than $47,476?
  6. Will I still be able to work at home and check my email in the evening?
  7. Will this change effect my vacation accruals?
  8. Are there mandatory breaks that I must take?
  9. I like to work through my lunch and leave early at the end of the day. Will I still be able to do this?
  10. Can I take my two rest periods together and add them to my lunch break?
  11. I travel for my job. How will I be compensated for my travel time?
  12. I am oncall for my job. How will I be compensated for my on call time?
  13. When is overtime pay (time and a half) required?

1. What is the FLSA?

The FLSA is the federal law that governs which employees may be paid a set salary and which employees must be paid overtime for all hours worked over 40 hours in a week.

  • Currently, to be paid a set salary (or to be “exempt” from overtime), an employee must have certain higher‐level duties and must earn a minimum of $23,600 annually ($455 per week).
  • Teachers do not have the same minimum salary requirement.


2. How is the FLSA changing?

  • As of December 1, 2016, new FLSA regulations will require that in addition to having certain higher‐level duties, an employee must earn a minimum of $47,476 annually ($913 per week) to be paid a salary rather than an hourly rate, plus overtime.
  • These changes do not impact employees whose primary duty is teaching.


3. What does this mean for me?

  • If you are a salaried employee earning less than $47,276 annually or $913 per week, you will be converted to an hourly employee effective December 1, 2016.
  • You will be required to record your time “in” and “out” of work and to take mandatory breaks and meal periods. (see below)
  • You will be paid time and half for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.


4. I don’t want to be an hourly worker. I don’t care if I get overtime. Can I waive this change?

  • You cannot waive this change. This is a federal law and neither the employer nor the employee has the right to modify or waive the minimum salary requirement.


5. I am paid a salary and my job title is manager. Can I still be paid a salary even though I earn less than $47,476?

  • Job titles do not determine whether an employee is eligible to be paid a salary. To be exempt from overtime, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all of the applicable requirements provided in the FLSA regulations.


6. Will I still be able to work at home and check my email in the evening?

  • All work completed by an hourly or non‐exempt employee must be recorded and compensated. That means that if you work from home in the evening, you must report the hours on a timesheet. You should discuss, in advance, any after‐hours work with your supervisor.


7. Will this change effect my vacation accruals?

  • This change will not impact the rate of your benefit accruals. Willamette is updating its vacation accrual policy so that hourly employees will accrue benefits at the same rate as salaried employees effective December 1, 2016.


8. Are there mandatory breaks that I must take?

Yes, you must take mandatory rest and meal periods as follows:

  • Meal Break: The law requires that you take a 30 minute unpaid meal break if you are working more than 6 hours in a day. If the work period is at least six hours but less than seven hours, the meal period is to be taken between the second and fifth hour worked. If the work period is more than seven hours, the meal period is to be taken between the third and sixth hour worked.
  • Rest Periods: The law requires that you take a 10 minute rest period for every 4 hours worked.


9. I like to work through my lunch and leave early at the end of the day. Will I still be able to do this?

Unfortunately, no, this is not allowed under the law. It is a requirement of the law that you must take a 30 minute unpaid meal break if you are working more than 6 hours in a day. If the work period is at least six hours but less than seven hours, the meal period is to be taken between the second and fifth hour worked. If the work period is more than seven hours, the meal period is to be taken between the third and sixth hour worked. We are also required to provide you with a 10 minute rest period for every 4 hours worked.


10. Can I take my two rest periods together and add them to my lunch break?

  • Oregon law prohibits an employer from allowing employees to add the rest period to a meal period or to deduct rest periods from the beginning or end of the employee’s work shift.


11. I travel for my job. How will I be compensated for my travel time?

Same Day Travel: If you travel more than 30 miles from your regular worksite for same day travel, you will be paid for your travel time to and from the location and all work hours in between.

Overnight Travel: On overnight trips, all the time you spend traveling during normal work hours will be compensated ‐‐ even on weekends. If you are traveling outside of normal work hours, you will only be compensated if you are required to drive. (An employer is not legally obligated to compensate for travel time that falls outside of the employee´s regular work hours, except when the employee is required to drive.)

Here are some examples of when the law requires overtime pay:

  • Example: Employee´s regular work schedule is 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Employer requires Employee to attend a twoday business conference in another state. Employee travels by plane on Wednesday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The employer must pay for these six hours of travel time, since they cut across Employee´s normal work hours. Employee returns home on Saturday, traveling from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The employer must pay for the three hours between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m., the travel time which cuts across Employee´s normal work hours. This is required even though Employee does not normally work on Saturdays.
  • Example: Employee´s regular work schedule is 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Employer sends Employee from Salem to a work‐related weekend convention in Chicago on a Friday night "redeye" flight from midnight to 5:00 a.m. Since Employee is traveling as a passenger outside of normal work hours, the employer needn´t pay for any of the travel time.
  • Example: Employee, whose regular work schedule is 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, travels by plane to an out‐of‐state business meeting. The air travel takes place from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. At the airport, Employee is required to pick up a rental car and drive an additional five hours to reach the remote city where the meeting will take place. In this case, the employer must pay for 10 hours of travel time ‐‐ the five hours of air travel which cut across Employee´s normal work hours, plus the five hours of car travel which fall outside of Employee´s normal work hours, since he is required to drive during that time.


12. I am oncall for my job. How will I be compensated for my on call time?

  • On‐call time is compensated if you are required to be on campus while you are on call.
  • If you are required to be available by phone during specified hours, but not on campus, you will not be compensated unless you are called to work. On‐call time will be compensated if calls are so frequent that you cannot use your time effectively for your own benefit.


13. When is overtime pay (time and a half) required?

  • Overtime pay is calculated as any hours worked beyond 40 hours during a normal work week.
  • Employees cannot work more than 40 hours one week, and less than 40 hours the next week to “balance” time worked and avoid overtime pay. Any hours worked over 40 in a given work week must be paid the overtime rate.