Recent changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations will have a significant impact on some NEA-NH Members
Currently, in order to qualify for overtime pay, salaried employees must make under $23,660 per year or $455 per week as well as meet other requirements. Now, salaried employees who make under $47, 476 per year or $913 per week will qualify for overtime if they are not otherwise exempt from overtime pay under the law.
While teachers are expressly exempt from receiving overtime pay that is not otherwise negotiated, many other NEA-NH members may directly benefit from the new changes. What follows is a quick overview of the new rule, whom it applies to, and its impact on those affiliated as employees of educational establishments.
Who is Covered Under the New Overtime Regulations
No change in overtime pay for the following employees:
- Employees paid hourly who currently receive or qualify for overtime pay after 40 hours a week of work. For example: hourly paraprofessionals.
- Teachers are still not entitled to overtime pay under the law.
- Employees who are currently deemed exempt from overtime pay for reasons other than the amount of money they make per week.
Overtime Pay May Now Be Available to The Following Employees:
Salaried school and higher education employees who are currently exempt from overtime solely because they make more than $455 per week are now eligible for overtime pay if they make less than $913 per week.
It is important to note that job title alone does not necessarily ensure a position is exempt or non-exempt; the nature of their work duties are the defining factors. However, salaried positions making below $913 per week who are not expressly exempt or exempt under the tests set forth below may receive overtime protection.
For example, if these positions are salaried they could be affected by the law change: (this is not an exhaustive list)
- Food service workers
- Clerical and administrative staff
- Transport workers
- Technology services workers
- Security services
- Occupational therapist
- Speech therapists
- Physical therapists
- Skilled trade workers
Impact on Teachers and other “Professional” Employees
Employees who do not qualify for overtime pay and will not benefit from these changes are called “exempt” employees.
Exempt employees include:
- “Professional” employees who are categorized as “bona fide executive, administrative, or professional employees.”
Exempt professional employees are those who:
- Engage in certain duties outlined under FLSA (known as the “duties test”)
- Be paid on a non-hourly “salary basis,” meaning the employee is paid a set amount regardless of the hours worked (known as the “salary basis” test)
- Meet or exceed $47,476 in salary (known as the “salary threshold test”).
All three “tests” must be met in order for a professional employee to be exempt from overtime protections.
Who is a Teacher?
Teachers are characterized as those who primarily engage in activities related to teaching, tutoring, instructing, or lecturing at educational establishments such as nursery schools, primary and secondary schools, and even colleges and universities. Teachers, therefore, generally include:
- K–12 educators
- Adjunct professors
“Academic Administrator” Exemptions
Some administrative employees whose primary duty is performing administrative functions directly related to academic instruction or training in educational establishments are exempt from overtime protections. To be exempt, these employees must either be paid a salary or fee basis equal to the entrance salary for teachers at that establishment. Academic administrators generally include the following:
- Department heads
- Persons who administer school testing programs
- Academic guidance counselors and student advisors
- Intervention specialists
Employees who work in higher education, but whose work does not relate to the educational field, are not considered academic administrators; they are not expressly exempt under the FLSA. Employees whose work relates to the general business operations, building management and maintenance, human resources, health services, psychological treatment, or food services may meet the requirements for a different white-collar exemption, but they are not considered academic administrators under the FLSA and may be afforded overtime protection.
How Will These Changes Impact Members?
For teachers there will be no change. For positions that currently qualify to receive overtime there will be no change. If you are in a position that would have otherwise been compensated with overtime pay except you made over $455 per week you will now qualify for overtime as long as you do not make over $913 per week. If you are a professional employee, who is not a teacher, salaried, and makes less than $913 per week you may now qualify for overtime protection. Contact your local association president to ask if you qualify.
The new rule provides for the automatic update of the salary threshold, which will be adjusted every three years beginning January 1, 2020. The updated amount will always reflect the 40th percentile earning of salaried employees in the lowest earning Census region. The updated amount will be published 150 days in advance of each effective renewal date.
Your employer may attempt to change your hours or wages in their effort to comply with the new regulations and avoid paying overtime costs. Remember that the amount of money you make and the hours you work are mandatory subjects of bargaining and cannot be changed by your employer unilaterally. If your employer attempts to change your job or your salary in any way please contact your local association president.