UGA will implement federally-mandated changes to staff classifications Nov. 17, moving approximately 3,000 staff members from exempt to non-exempt status. UGA has held two campuswide forums to communicate to staff members the impact of the new U.S. Department of Labor regulations and will hold two more sessions at the Georgia Center today at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Under the new Fair Labor Standards Act provisions, certain UGA staff whose duties and responsibilities do not meet the FLSA exemption tests or who make less than $913 per week ($47,476 full-time annually) must be classified as non-exempt and become eligible for overtime pay or compensatory time. With this change, these staff members must report their hours worked on a weekly basis and are eligible for overtime pay or compensatory time if they exceed 40 worked hours in a week.
The change is required due to state law in Georgia and the payroll policy of the University of Georgia, as well as the entire University System of Georgia, that requires non-exempt employees (i.e., those eligible for overtime) to be paid biweekly.
Standard benefit and other deductions will be split evenly among the two paychecks each month. Twice a year, when non-exempt staff receive three paychecks in a month, the third paycheck will only have taxes withheld.
UGA staff members who are moved to non-exempt classifications will follow the Kronos timekeeping procedures established by their units to monitor time. This may include clocking in, if necessary, or reporting their time by the established deadline for their pay period. These staff members will join the more than 3,400 UGA staff already on biweekly payroll.
“While we have been working on the implementation of this FLSA transition, we have never forgotten the human factor and how this change affects our staff members and their families,” said Juan Jarrett, associate vice president for human resources. “Although we must comply with federal and state laws, we explored many options and continue exploring possible processes that might lessen the financial impact, including the recently approved annual leave cash-out option.”
The November monthly paycheck of affected staff members will be lower because it will only cover a pay period of Nov. 1-16. Their first biweekly paycheck on Dec. 9 will cover the Nov. 17-30 pay period.
To minimize the financial impact caused by this transition and gap in pay, UGA has been authorized to offer a one‐time, voluntary opportunity for staff to “cash out” and be paid for up to 56 hours of their unused annual leave. For those who may not have sufficient leave accrued to cash out the full 56 hours, staff will be given until June 2017 to accrue a sufficient balance to receive the cash-out amount they desire. Details about the annual leave cash-out process can be found on the FLSA website at http://hrdocs.uga.edu/flsa-annual-leave-cash-out.pdf.
The university also is working with the Georgia United Credit Union to develop short-term, low-interest loan options designed specifically for UGA staff affected by this transition and will communicate additional details as soon as possible. In addition, the university is offering personal budget management training to those who desire assistance.
Supervisors who are unfamiliar with Kronos will have the opportunity to attend training in October and November. Individual units will be holding Kronos training sessions for affected employees to teach those staff members the proper policies and procedures for their areas.
Today’s forums for affected staff members will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. and from 2-3:30 p.m. in Mahler Auditorium at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. These sessions also will be streamed online for staff who cannot attend and will be archived for later viewing.
Human Resources also has developed an FLSA website (flsa.uga.edu) with information about the regulations as well as UGA’s strategy, timeline for implementation and resources for staff and managers. The website contains a paycheck calculator and payroll information to help affected staff better plan for the transition. Human Resources has been working diligently to ensure a successful implementation of the changes announced in May. HR has notified UGA staff members who are potentially affected by the new FLSA rule to allow those staff members to begin planning for moving to biweekly pay.
Human Resources is working with campus HR partners or the unit chief financial officers of divisions, schools and colleges to: (1) provide an official list of classifications and their statuses under the new FLSA regulations; (2) provide a listing of impacted positions and affected staff for each unit to review; and (3) schedule meetings with unit management to review their lists of affected employees.
Human Resources is meeting with units through October to finalize their lists of impacted positions and staff. These ongoing meetings are to address individual job duties and responsibilities that may fall outside the job classification and instruct units on the logistics of completing the implementation, including personnel documents required for processing.
After unit-level meetings have been completed, departments will submit personnel reports for their affected staff. Human Resources also will work with divisions, schools and colleges to communicate a final decision to those staff members who will change from exempt to non-exempt status.
Questions about this implementation may be directed to 706-542-2222. More information about FLSA at UGA can be found at flsa.uga.edu.