To help ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and to establish consistent policies across campus, the following guidelines have been developed to address specific questions that may arise.
Employees are encouraged to complete TrainTraq course #2112755: Comp Time Issues for Employees.
Supervisors are encouraged to complete TrainTraq course #2112756: Comp Time Issues for Supervisors.
Federal (or FLSA) overtime and compensatory (comp) time are earned when a non-exempt employee actually works more than 40 hours in a single work week (Thursday – Wednesday) and is earned at 1.5x the normal rate. TAMUG non-exempt employees will accrue federal comp time when they work overtime. Employees who have hours accrued in their federal comp time bank may be required to use their FLSA comp time before they request vacation leave. Additionally, supervisors may require employees to use federal comp time, even if they have not requested time off.
State comp time is accrued when the combined total of hours actually worked plus paid absence (i.e. sick leave or vacation leave) exceeds 40 hours in one work week and is earned at the normal rate. State comp time must be used within 12 months from when it is accrued or it expires; it cannot be paid out, except in very limited situations.
Individual departments will establish work schedules based upon business needs. Work hours may be adjusted within a workday, workweek or for longer periods as needed.
Lunch is generally unpaid time (typically 30 minutes or more) when the employee is relieved of all job duties and is free to leave the work area. Non-exempt employees that work during the lunch break must be paid for that time.
Outside work hours, non-exempt employees are not to answer emails unless otherwise instructed by their supervisor because time spent reviewing and responding to these emails may become work time.
It is acknowledged that there may be times when the demands on non-exempt employees cannot be completed within a 40 hour work week. When employees or supervisors anticipate work requirements that will result in overtime hours in a given weekly pay period, they should discuss projected work and hours in advance. Any hours worked in excess of 40 per week will require advance approval of the non-exempt employee’s supervisor.
Both Wellness Release Time and Education Release Time will be compensable within University guidelines. Wellness Release time counts as work towards FLSA overtime, but Education Release time does not. Wellness Release Time cannot exceed one and a half hours in any given week and must be taken in three separate 30-minute periods; these three periods cannot be combined or carried over.
The rules governing travel and what time can be used toward FLSA, State or Holiday comp time will be subject to University rules. Supervisors and non-exempt employees should collaborate in advance of a trip to identify what should count as working time when the employee has business travel. Supervisors and employees should review the itinerary, conference/meeting schedule and other materials as well as actual travel arrangements and times. Both employee and supervisor should document in writing projected working hours, including travel time and identify how any hours over 40 in a work week will be handled: whether it will be banked in the employee’s comp time bank or if the employee’s work schedule will be adjusted to avoid or minimize the overtime.
Employees will be considered working a full-time, regular 40-hour work week while at their destination. FLSA rules apply to travel whether domestic or international; the primary difference is between same day and overnight travel.
A non-exempt employee (whether driver or passenger) traveling to another city on University business and returning in the same day will be considered to be in a working status during all travel hours; unless all travelers meet at a central point to depart, in which case travel time will be reduced by the time required for the employee’s normal daily commute.
I. Non-exempt employees traveling as a passenger on University business that includes an overnight stay will be compensated for travel time which occurs during their normal working hours or the corresponding hours on weekends or holidays.
II. Non-exempt employees traveling as a driver will receive travel time for all hours spent driving, regardless of when the travel occurs.
III. Travel by plane, bus, train or other conveyance is treated as working hours only during the normal working hours or the corresponding hours on weekends or holidays. This includes travel to/from airports or other terminals, waiting/connection times and delays.
Note: if an employee is performing productive work during travel (i.e. writing an inspection report, drafting a conference summary, etc.) that time will be considered working time.
I. Main activities on the formal conference schedule are considered working time; optional activities may or may not be considered working time and must be evaluated individually.
II. Receptions hosted by the conference organizers or sponsors after main conference hours are most likely to be counted as working hours, even if attendance is voluntary; typically these are networking events and can be considered of benefit to the employer.
III. Optional tours or cultural activities are unlikely to be considered working time.
IV. “Rest time” between conference activities is not considered compensable, as long as they are at least 30 minutes in length. If the time between activities is less than 30 minutes, it will be considered working time.
V. Weekends during a conference or other assignment that lasts more than a week away from the normal work location are not considered compensable time, even if the employee is unable to return home. If the employee performs specific work, such as preparing an activity summary, that specific period of time will be considered working time.
VI. For other activities or time periods, remember to use this qualifier – who is the primary beneficiary of the time – the employee or Texas A&M University at Galveston? If it is the employee, it may not be claimed as working hours. If TAMUG, then the time is considered working hours.