iStock_000009138140XSmall[1].jpgOne of the more surprising changes in the new FLSA overtime exemption rules is a provision allowing  certain bonuses, commissions, and incentive pay to count for up to 10% of the new increased minimum salary level. However, the rule provides that only “nondiscretionary” bonuses, incentives, and commissions can be counted. So what exactly does “nondiscretionary” mean?

The new rules don’t actually define “nondiscretionary,”  but another part of the FLSA regulations (specifically 29 C.F.R. § 778.211), provides some guidance here. That section discusses which bonuses can be excluded from the “regular rate” used to calculate overtime for non-exempt employees because they are discretionary:
Continue Reading

Coach holding footballAs schools seek to adjust to the new Department of Labor overtime exemption rules and increased salary standards, nearly every institution has classification and overtime-calculation questions about athletic coaches and athletic trainer positions.  The NCAA (in conjunction with CUPA-HR) has now issued a helpful paper addressing exemption analysis and practical considerations applicable to these roles that can be found here.  The analysis identifies several options for potentially classifying coaches and athletic trainers as exempt from overtime, which hinge fundamentally on defining each individual’s “primary duty.”  That can be tricky, particularly for assistant coaches, given that (1) federal law defines primary duties as the “most important” (which may or may not be those that consume the most time) and (2) coaches are commonly assigned a wide variety of tasks and roles, depending on particular team needs, size of institution, or head coach preferences.  Definitive decisions about classification will thus continue to require case-by-case analysis of each coach’s particular situation, but the NCAA’s paper provides several helpful concepts to help frame such decisions.

Highlights of the exemption analysis include:
Continue Reading

iStock_000015026880XSmall.jpgAs we previously reported, the Department of Labor has now issued its long-anticipated final overtime exemption rules for white collar workers. In addition, the DOL published more detailed guidance for higher education institutions (.pdf) seeking to comply with the new obligations. As expected, the compensation adjustments mandated by the new rules require substantial effort to balance college and university budgetary constraints, workforce morale concerns, and legal compliance obligations in the next several months.

The DOL estimates that the new rule will result in approximately 35% of all current full-time, salaried workers being eligible for overtime based on their salary level alone. At the same time, increasing so many positions’ salaries to meet the new $47,476 threshold creates substantial concerns with salary compression on campus for positions already above that threshold.  To address such concerns and to minimize the need to comply with future increases of the FLSA salary threshold, many institutions of higher education are likely to seek to convert positions to non-exempt status; at the same time, they will need to address employee-morale concerns related to such a conversion and diligently manage the number of hours or methods of compensating for overtime wherever possible for budgetary reasons.

As schools determine the best approach for seeking to adjust to the new rules, the guidance issued yesterday as well as a white paper that we prepared earlier this year offer ample advice specific to higher education institutional needs and concerns.  Examples of key components of the guidance include the following:


Continue Reading