University Human Resources
Contents: IU is One Employer | Assigning | Eligibility and Compensation | Compensatory Time Off | All Time Worked and Permitted to be Worked | Dual Employment | Record keeping | Preparatory and Finishing Up Time | Waiting Time | Volunteerism | Call Back | Travel Time | Other Time | Contact
In 1985 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to all state and local government employees. The FLSA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor. At Indiana University, each department is responsible for ensuring and maintaining compliance with the FLSA.
It is the policy of Indiana University to comply with the FLSA. The purpose of this document is to review and reinforce FLSA requirements and university policy as they apply to overtime for nonexempt staff (employees paid an hourly rate). The full description of overtime provisions is contained in the policies, Overtime Pay for Staff and Temporary Employees and Work Hours for Professional Staff Who Are Not Eligible for Overtime.
A common misconception is that individuals working for Indiana University are employees of their respective units or departments. This is not true. All Indiana University employees receive compensation for the services they perform or provide to the university, regardless of funding sources.
The Department of Labor interprets employment by one or more departments of the university to be employment by only one employer Indiana University.
The university policy regarding overtime states that supervisors should not permit overtime work unless it is absolutely necessary. In keeping with this policy, supervisors must do the following:
- Plan and schedule work so staff can perform it within regularly scheduled hours.
- Try to give staff ample advance notice of overtime assignments.
- Authorize all overtime before it is actually worked.
All staff must have supervisory permission to work overtime. To be eligible for overtime compensation, employees must work more than 40 hours per week.
- With a few exceptions, time off with pay does not count as time worked.
Staff can receive overtime as one of the following:
- Compensatory time off (with pay) at 1.5 times the overtime hours worked.
- Overtime pay at a rate not less than 1.5 times the regular rate.
Limits on Accumulations
University policy limits the amount of compensatory time off staff may accumulate. Nonetheless, if staff exceed such amounts, departments must still pay the person for the hours worked. Refer to the personnel policy for each functional group to identify the amount of compensatory time off staff may accumulate.
Approving and Taking Compensatory Time Off
Under FLSA regulations, departments must approve an employee's request to take compensatory time off unless it unduly disrupts the department's operations. A request that may cause a mere inconvenience is not sufficient grounds for refusing the request.
The university must pay employees for all time they are required to give the university or for all time controlled by the university. The employee does not have to spend this time in physical or mental exertion, but in pursuit primarily for the benefit of the university.
The university must also pay employees for all time they have "suffered" or the university has "permitted." If management knows or has reason to believe that an employee has performed work, then the time is still compensable. It is the duty of management to insure that this rule is enforced; to see that work is not performed if management does not want it to be performed. Management cannot accept the benefits without compensating the employee.
A university department must pay an employee for time spent working, even if ...
- A supervisor did not authorize the work.
- The employee volunteered to do the work.
- The employee did the work at home or off site
Example: One Friday afternoon, a supervisor realizes that a stack of work will not be finished by Monday morning's due date. The supervisor is not willing to pay overtime to the assigned employee; however, another employee offers to take the work home and complete it over the weekend. The employee states that she enjoys the task at hand and expects no compensation in return. The supervisor agrees.
Result: The FLSA "all time suffered and permitted" rule prohibits the university from allowing the employee to do such work unless he or she is compensated. Furthermore, the employee must receive pay for actual hours worked and such hours are subject to overtime pay.
Example: A supervisor has received a grant to conduct research. He offers his full-time appointed staff the opportunity to work at home on Saturdays. The rate is $12 not subject to overtime compensation. The supervisor believes he is valid in establishing this rate because he will fund the work from the grant account.
Result: As the first topic of this handbook states, all IU employees receive compensation for the services they perform or provide to the university, regardless of funding sources. Thus, the supervisor cannot avoid paying overtime based on a bonafide rate. Staff who work more than 40 hours per week must be compensated in overtime pay or time off.
See the next topic, "Dual Employment," for additional information.
Employees who work for a secondary department must be compensated by overtime payment if the work time exceeds 40 hours in a work week. The payment is 1.5 times the rate of the overtime work performed. The rate of pay depends on the type of work performed.
- Staff who perform work similar to their primary occupational group receive overtime based on their regular rate.
- Staff who perform work different from their primary occupational group receive overtime based on a weighted average or a mutually agreeable bonafide rate.
For assistance in establishing a rate of pay for dual employment, contact Classification and Salary.
The importance of accurate record keeping cannot be overestimated. The FLSA's regulation toward record keeping is strict and regularly enforced. A serious violation of record keeping is failing to record actual hours worked.
Supervisors who permit or encourage employees to record anything other than actual hours worked are in violation of university policy and state and federal law.
Staff are responsible for recording their work hours on the university-provided timekeeping device. Supervisors must approve each person's time record before submitting it to Payroll.Staff are responsible for recording all hours worked on a daily and weekly basis.
Preparatory and finishing up time are an integral part of a job and the time is compensable. The following are examples of such time.
- Turning on and checking out machinery or equipment
- Filing reports, letters, documents
- Reporting to a work site to receive an update of one's previous shift
Some periods of inactivity are an integral part of a job and the time is compensable; for example, time spent by an employee who waits for instructions, or materials. These periods can be brought about by unpredicted events, such as a computer breakdown. Even if an employee is reading a book or talking to a coworker while waiting, the time is compensable.
As a rule of thumb, if the period cannot be predicted and is of short duration, then the waiting time must be compensated. If an employee leaves the premises while waiting, it is still considered work time. However, if an employee is relieved from duty for 20 minutes or more of personal time then it is not work time.
Examples of Waiting Time That Must Be Compensated
- Time waiting for instructions or materials
- Time waiting for a computer to be repaired
- Time spent off premises waiting to be transported to a work site.
The circumstances under which employees may volunteer are stricter than most people realize. The following criteria and examples illustrate this point. To be considered a volunteer, employees must meet all criteria below.
Criteria 1: Employees may volunteer if the services are totally unrelated to their work.
Example: John, an office services assistant, performs a variety of secretarial duties for his department. One weekend, he freely offers to help out at his department's fund raiser. If John performs the same type of services for the fund raiser as he does during the week, he must be paid for the hours worked. The department cannot allow John to volunteer; they must pay him for his time. However, if John offers to give campus tours or to provide child care for the weekend fund raiser, he may do so as a volunteer. Even if John provides secretarial services for another department's fund raiser, the secondary department must pay him for his time. (Such work is considered dual employment.) Furthermore, in both cases, the actual hours worked (not volunteered) are subject to overtime compensation.
Criteria 2: Employees are considered volunteers only when they offer their services freely and without pressure or coercion direct or implied from the supervisor or employer.
Criteria 3: Employees may volunteer if they have not been promised or do not expect-compensation for their services.
FLSA requires employers to compensate an employee who is called back to work if the call back meets these two criteria: The call back occurs outside the normal daily work schedule and the employee must make a required extra trip to and from work.
Depending on the campus and union representation, university policy compensates such employees for a minimum of two hours at time and one-half.
Compensable Travel Time
Employees receive compensation for travel time when it (1) is outside of the employee's normal daily work schedule and (2) exceeds the normal time the employee spends traveling from home to work. The following are examples of such travel time.
- Time spent driving from home to an airport terminal, train station, etc.
- Time spent riding in a vehicle discussing work or performing work tasks
- Time spent in one's hotel at night preparing materials for a morning presentation.
Non-compensable Travel Time
- A break in travel time for meals
- Overnight lodging; when an employee is free to "come and go"
Attendance at approved job-related training programs and similar activities is counted as working time. It does not matter if the time spent is during or outside regular working hours both times are counted as work.
Time spent by an employee to prepare for attendance at training is also considered work time.
Lecture, Meeting, or Conference Time
Time spent attending a lecture, meeting, or conference is considered working time if the employee is required to attend or performs work for the benefit of the university. The attendance can be during or outside regular working hours.
If you have questions or need assistance, contact: Classification and Compensation at 855-7321 or email
Return to Legal Compliance