Human Resources - Furlough Central

Exempt to Non-Exempt Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Employees who are normally in an FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) exempt status position, such as MPPs, lose their FLSA exemption during the workweek a furlough day is observed.  This means that for pay and time reporting purposes, these employees are treated as non-exempt employees during furlough weeks. An exception to this general rule applies to teachers/ faculty, lawyers, and doctors.

To download Furloughs - Question & Answers for more information.

Q. What is the primary difference between FLSA exempt status and non-exempt status employees?

 A.  FLSA exempt status employees are considered "salaried" and are not eligible for overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 in a work week.  Non-exempt status employees are considered "hourly." They are paid for hours worked - and receive overtime payment or Compensatory Time Off (CTO) for hours worked in excess of 40 in a work week.

Q. What constitutes the workweek?

A. For employees on a regular schedule, the workweek begins at 12:01 am on Sunday and ends at 12:00 midnight the following Saturday. This is the case for both exempt and non-exempt status positions.

Q. How does the workweek differ from a work schedule?

A.  A "normal" or "regular" work schedule is typically Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm with an hour for lunch.  The work week is a seven day period, beginning at 12:01am Sunday and ending at 12:00 midnight Saturday.

Q. How many hours can employees work during furlough weeks?

A.  During a furlough week, exempt status employees are converted to non-exempt status.  Employees should only work 32 hours during a furlough work week.  It is important to remember that the work week is not just Monday through Friday, but is a seven day period which extends from 12:01 am Sunday through 12:00 midnight the following Saturday.  

Q. What constitutes "work" during a furlough week?

A. "Work" includes tasks that are normal work tasks such as reading or responding to emails; listening or responding to voicemail messages; reading work related documents; writing/drafting correspondence, etc. This includes performing tasks during the lunch period as well. 

Q.  What if during a furlough week I volunteer to work through lunch or check my blackberry in the evening, or take work home with me or do other work for more than 32 hours during the furlough weeks?

A.  While in a non-exempt status during furlough weeks, the University is legally required to pay for all hours worked.  Employees are not legally able to "volunteer" to perform work without being paid.  Since the intent of the furlough is to save payroll dollars, paying you for more than 32 hours during furlough weeks would be counter to that purpose.

Therefore, any time worked over 32 hours during a furlough weeks must be assigned and authorized by the appropriate administrator. 

Q. What if an employee is authorized to work more than 32 hours in a furlough week?

A.  Hours worked over 32 but less than 40 will be recorded and paid at the straight time rate.  Hours in excess of 40 will be recorded and paid at the overtime rate.

Q.  Can employees, such as MPPs, who are FLSA exempt except during furlough weeks, receive Compensatory Time Off (CTO) if they work more than 40 hours in a furlough week?

A. No, employees who are otherwise FLSA exempt, but who become non-exempt during furlough weeks, will not be eligible to earn or accrue Compensatory Time Off (CTO) for overtime hours worked during a furlough week. The campus must pay out any overtime hours worked by the employee in the respective pay period.

Q.  Can exempt employees be required to work additional hours during non-furlough weeks to offset the furlough days?

A.  While in an exempt status, employees are not subject to the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  However, the intent is not to create an excessive or unreasonable workload during a week in which employees remain in their exempt status (non-furlough weeks).

Q.  What should my work schedule include?

A.  As with non-exempt employees, exempt status employees during a furlough week will have a set work schedule which includes:

Set start time and end time.

Typically a 60 minute lunch break.

Normally, four 8 hour work days within the furlough work week. 

Q.  What if I have a medical appointment or need to take some time off during a furlough week for personal business? 

A. During a furlough week, employees are considered non-exempt and are only paid for actual hours worked. Employees will request (and record) their absences as non-exempt employees. For example, they will record the use of sick leave if they attend a medical appointment during the work day or annual leave for personal business that takes them away from work during the course of their work day.

Q. How do I complete my time and attendance record during a furlough week?

A.  Hours are recorded on the time and attendance report in leave increments taken.  The furlough day will be tracked by using a new code added to time and attendance.  Employees will select the code "FUR" (for furlough) and insert it to record the days they are taking furlough.