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  • New Overtime Rules by the Obama Administration affecting Higher Education
  • Posted By:
  • Tom A.
  • Posted On:
  • 04-Jun-2016
  • A new rule concerning overtime can make a whole lot of difference to the higher education employees in the United States, but might be problematic for the universities and colleges where the funding is concerned. This rule requires the employers to extend the benefits of this rule to more workers.

    Previously, overtime was offered to employees who made less than $23,660 in a year, but now, with this rule, the overtime will be offered to employees who make less than $47,476 in a year. The administration has been able to encourage the higher education institutions to increase the salary so as to avoid complying with this rule and paying overtime, as this might work out to a lot more.

    The Different Options with the new Overtime Rule

    These rules can be less of a burden to the employers if they are able to adapt to the different options available to them.

    1. Evaluation of workloads and realigning working hours:
    Employers have the option of the distribution of workload, staffing level and time which can be appropriately managed by the white-collared staff that is getting salaries below the mark. There is an open option to employ more workers.

    2. Additional overtime besides the salary when required:
    The employees can be paid the salaries which they are already getting but paid overtime when and if they work more than 40 hours a week. This works well for those who work for 40 hours or less per week but have occasional bouts of extra work load. There is no requirement to convert the employees to hourly salaries.

    3. Raising the salaries to keep the employees exempted from overtime:
    Employers can raise the salaries of those employees who are being paid close to the level and exempt them from overtime. This can be done by ensuring that the chosen employees are able to pass the duties test of an administrative, executive or professional. Reducing the working hours can save the employers from paying overtime to the employees and keep the working hours consistent.

    Making it convenient for the employers

    There is no rule stating that the employee should have working hours which is predetermined. In other words, there is no prohibition of the employee working however, whenever or wherever with the agreement of the employer. It is left to the employer to choose any method which works best for the institution and the workforce needs.

    Those exempted from the new rule

    The new overtime rule by the Obama Administration exempts many of the employees in colleges and universities depending on their job profile. The teaching job includes:

    * Those whose primary job is to instruct

    * Those students in jobs connected to research and are supervised by a faculty member

    * Assistant coaches along with coaches whose main job is to teach

    * Academic personnel who are employed mainly for advising and helping students.

    Requirement of this change to be implemented in the higher education sector might compel universities to take drastic steps like lay-offs, increase in the tuition fees and even reductions in services. 


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