Overtime compensation

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that most workers receive a minimum overtime pay of 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay rate for all hours worked over 40 hours in a seven-day workweek. The UW calls positions that are covered by FLSA overtime regulations “overtime eligible.”

Supervisory approval for overtime work

Each unit should have an overtime authorization process and inform overtime eligible employees that they must obtain advance supervisory approval to work more than their regular work schedule. Overtime eligible employees must be paid for all hours worked whether overtime has been approved or not. However, employees who work unauthorized overtime hours may be subject to corrective action.

Mandatory overtime payment and compensatory time

Overtime eligible employees must be paid at least 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for overtime hours worked. An overtime-eligible employee who works in more than one position during a workweek must have the hours worked in all positions combined to calculate the total hours worked.

With the supervisor’s approval, an employee may request to receive compensatory time off instead of overtime payment. However, employees cannot be required to accept compensatory time instead of receiving overtime payment. Compensatory time is accumulated at the rate of 1.5 hours of compensatory time for each overtime hour worked, unless a different, higher rate is specified in a particular employment program or collective bargaining agreement.

An overtime eligible employee who works extra hours, but not enough hours to require overtime payment at time and one half, receives straight time for the extra hours worked.

Example: A half time, overtime eligible employee works four hours five days per week, and during one week works two extra hours. The employee has not worked enough hours to require overtime payment, and the extra two hours are paid at straight time or may be taken as compensatory time at straight time.

NOTE: An overtime eligible employee cannot “volunteer” to do extra work in the unit if payment would otherwise be required in order to get the work accomplished.

Mandatory payment alternative

Some units are not funded to pay overtime. Overtime work that is needed but not funded may be offered to, but not required of an employee, contingent on the employee’s willingness to accept compensatory time instead of overtime payment. Overtime accepted on a contingent basis must be documented with a Contingent Overtime Agreement.

Units that offer overtime contingent on acceptance of compensatory time must understand that compensatory time, if not used, must be paid annually (see “Compensatory time – Annual use/payment requirement” below) or upon separation from employment. It is therefore important to ensure that compensatory time balances are used before such payment is required.

Compensatory time – Annual use/payment deadlines

Unless your collective bargaining agreement states otherwise, you must use or be paid for your accumulated time by June 30.

Professional staff overtime status

Professional staff in an overtime exempt position do not receive overtime payment or compensatory time. The overtime status of a professional staff position is established at the time it is created and may be reviewed if the position’s duties change. The professional staff position’s job code reflects its overtime eligible or overtime exempt status.

Contract covered staff and classified non-union staff overtime exception

Overtime provisions for contract covered staff are established in the applicable collective bargaining agreement. Overtime provisions for classified non-union staff are established in the applicable civil service rules (WAC 357-28-240 through WAC 357-28- 285). The FLSA overtime status for contract covered staff and classified non-union positions is by job classification, and is displayed in the “OT Eligible” column of the University Compensation Plan (example below). The column entries are “Y” for overtime eligible positions or “N” for overtime exempt positions.

A manager who wishes to have the overtime status of a classified position reviewed should email Compensation.

Overtime exceptions

Positions that are overtime exempt may granted overtime payment or compensatory time for the following reasons:

  • labor contract allows for compensation or compensatory time to be granted when the employee is assigned to work an excessive amount of time for an extended period. HR approval is required in accordance with the terms of the applicable labor contract.
  • When the supervisor requires a classified non-union employee to work an excessive number of hours over an extended time period, the supervisor may approve compensatory time on a straight time basis.

If you have questions about any of the above exceptions, contact your department’s Human Resources Consultant.

Compensation Plan Example

Job Code Job Profile Representative Group Pay Table Pay Range Min. Mo. Rate Max. Mo. Rate OT Eligible
17715 ACCELERATOR TECHNICIAN 1 SEIU Local 925 Clerical Nonsupervisory B4 40 $2689 $3583 Y
17011 ACCOUNTING SUPERVISOR SEIU Local 925 Clerical Supervisory B4 50 $3410 $4587 N

Guidance for units with overtime eligible employees

  1. Ensure that your unit has written policy or practice requiring that overtime eligible employees obtain prior supervisory approval before working overtime.
  2. Make sure that you know which positions in your unit are overtime eligible, and that the employees in those positions understand their overtime eligibility status.
  3. Establish a policy regarding compensatory time accumulation and use that addresses the following:
    • When compensatory time may be accumulated and that supervisory approval for compensatory time accumulation is required;
    • Whether you will require employees to use accumulated compensatory time before you will approve annual leave use;
    • Whether your unit wishes to establish its own cap on compensatory time accumulation to minimize possible financial liability for payment.