FLSA Working Time Frequently Asked Questions

If the travel is associated with a trip to a one-day conference and back in the same day, then all hours are compensable (if you travel to the conference from home in our own vehicle, you must subtract the normal daily commuting time from the total travel time). If the travel is associated with a trip involving an overnight stay, it becomes more complicated. If no work is accomplished during the travel (i.e. you can sleep, read, listen to music and are only there to take action in the event something happens), it will be compensable time only if it occurs during your normal working hours or the corresponding hours on a weekend or, if something occurs during the trip which requires your action, and then only for the period of time it takes to accomplish the action. If you are required to actively monitor the students at all times during the travel, it may be compensable time, regardless of the time it occurs.

If you are able to use the time for your own benefit (i.e. go to the gym, the swimming pool, the hotel restaurant or even go to your room and sleep), the time will not be compensable. On the other hand, if you are required to regularly tour the facility, ensuring students are conducting themselves properly and are in their rooms on time, time will likely be considered to be compensable time. Time worked is rounded to the nearest 15 minutes.

If you are simply scanning emails (i.e. seeing who sent it, the subject, and other cursory items) and it takes only a minute or two, it is unlikely to be recordable working time as it would be de minimis (negligible time) and there would be no problem with this. However, if you are reading emails and attachments, responding to them or taking any other actions relating to work, it is probably compensable time for which you must have prior permission from your supervisor. If you are contacted by your supervisor to respond to an email, you are essentially being told to work overtime and you should proceed. If you see an email which requires immediate action, but you are unable to obtain permission from your supervisor, go ahead and respond to the email, making note of the start and finish time (rounded to the nearest 15 minutes) and notify your supervisor of this on your first return to work. If it is considered to be recordable working time, your supervisor may adjust your working schedule (must be in the same working week) or have you bank federal comp time if the evening work puts you over 40 hours in the work week. (Note: Any hours worked in excess of 40 per week will require advance approval of the non-exempt employee’s supervisor)

Yes, a supervisor may direct employees to work at any time to meet business requirements. In this situation, the supervisor should have them record their start and finish times and then adjust their normal work days to cover the working time (rounded to the nearest 15 minutes) or, at the end of the work week if working time exceeds 40 hours, give them federal comp time to cover the overtime worked.

Attending the reception will most likely be considered working time, because receptions are usually intended to facilitate networking among participants and can be considered of benefit to the University. Attending the dinner is not straight forward. If there is a speaker and the subject is related to the conference, it is probably compensable time. If there is no speaker and the dinner involves arriving, having the meal and then leaving, it is more than likely non-compensable time.

No. Graduate Assistant (Research) positions are coded as Exempt employees in our payroll system to accommodate the fact that they can be paid a fixed stipend; in fact, under the FLSA, GAR positions are not actually considered covered by the FLSA because they are conducting research under the supervision of a faculty member while in pursuit of an advanced degree. Therefore, GAR positions are not eligible for travel time at any time under the FLSA.

No. Under the FLSA, exempt employees are not eligible for overtime pay or compensatory time. The only instance where an exempt employee can accrue comp time is when they are required to work on a University holiday. In that situation, an exempt employee will accrue one hour of State comp time (sometimes referred to as Holiday Comp Time) for each hour worked on the holiday. That time is treated the same as regular State comp time: it must be used within 12 months from the end of the work week in which it was earned and can only be paid by exception where taking the time off would cause serious disruption to teaching, research or other critical function.

If you are required to work on the Thursday or Friday of the Thanksgiving break, you will receive hour-for-hour State comp time (sometimes referred to as Holiday comp time). However, if you are only required to work on the Saturday or Sunday, you will not accrue any comp time, as the Saturday and Sunday are not normal work days and therefore are not considered as part of the University holiday allocation.

Yes. Supervisors may require an employee to use federal comp time that is banked before using vacation time. In this case, you would use 20 hours of federal comp time and 20 hours of vacation time for a total of 5 days off. Furthermore, a supervisor may require an employee to take time off to use up federal comp time, even if the employee does not ask to use the time.