Hours of Work and Overtime Policy

Title: Hours of Work and Overtime Policy
Effective Date:  December 9, 2016
Revision Date: First Version
Responsible Office:  Human Resources

I.  Scope

This policy applies to Professional, Operational, and Hourly employees (“University Staff”) of William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (the university)

II.  Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to (i) define work hours (schedules) for University Staff, (ii) describe the circumstances under which overtime is allowed for Hourly and Non-exempt employees, and (iii) specify the practice for lunch and other breaks.  This policy helps William & Mary comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act and Virginia Code 2.2-2817.1 (requiring policies for alternative work schedules). 

III.  Definitions

Alternate Work Schedule:  A work schedule that differs from the standard Work Schedule. Alternate Work Schedules may include, but are not limited to, four-10 hour days; rotational shifts; flexible hours; and job sharing.

Employee Pay Status:  Employees are defined as:

  • Exempt Employee: An employee paid on a salaried basis who is not subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  Exempt Employees are typically Professional employees. 
  • Non-exempt Employee: An employee paid on a salaried basis who is subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA. Non-exempt employees are typically Operational employees.
  • Hourly employees: Employees who are paid based on the number of hours they work and are limited to 29 hours or less per week for a maximum not to exceed 1,500 hours per year.

Normal Business Hours:  The normal operating hours for the university are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Overtime Rate:  An employee’s overtime rate is 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay. An employee is entitled to overtime for actual time worked in excess of 40 hours per Workweek.  Overtime may be compensated for using compensatory overtime leave or overtime pay. 

Workweek:  The regular workweek, used to determine overtime pay for Hourly and Non-exempt employees.[1]  The Workweek is either (1) the period from 12:01 a.m. Sunday to midnight Saturday or (2) such other workweek established by the relevant Vice President, Director or other unit head, with the approval of Human Resources.

Work Schedule:  The employee’s regularly scheduled hours of work in the central workplace and/or in an alternate work location (see Telecommuting Policy) during the Standard Workweek.  The standard Work Schedule for full-time positions is either (1) a five-day, 40 hour week schedule, or (2) such other Work Schedule as established by the relevant Vice President, Director, or other unit head. 

IV.  Work Schedules

Each employee’s Work Schedule is determined by his or her supervisor or manager. The normal Work Schedule of five days and 40 hours is applicable to most full-time University Staff positions. A Work Schedule may differ from Normal Business Hours provided it does not impede university operations or increase overtime.  The employee’s supervisor or manager will inform employees of their Work Schedule, including any overtime hours that the employee may be required to work. Employees must work overtime as reasonably required by their supervisor; see Section VI.

Employees are required to adhere to their Work Schedules by reporting to work at the specified starting time, departing at the specified ending time, and taking meal breaks as required (see Section VII). Employees must notify their supervisors as soon as possible if any deviation from the Work Schedule is necessary.

A. Temporary Work Schedule Adjustments. 

Management may adjust an Hourly or Non-exempt employee’s Work Schedule temporarily within a workweek to avoid overtime liability, to meet operational needs or in an emergency situation.  For example, if an Hourly or Non-exempt employee works extra hours on a particular day, the employee’s hours for the other days in the workweek may be reduced to prevent the employee from incurring overtime.

An employee taking approved annual or sick leave during the Standard Workweek may also be asked to work additional hours on a given day during the same week.  With the approval of the employee, the university may substitute the additional hours worked for the hours of leave, thus reducing or eliminating the need for the employee to use leave.

B. Alternate Work Schedules

The university, in its continuing effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness and to better meet professional and/or personal needs, permits Alternate Work Schedules for employees, provided that such Alternate Work Schedules do not cause an undue business hardship.   Examples of Alternate Work Schedules include: four-10 hour days; rotational shifts; flexible hours; and job sharing.  Except in a job share arrangement, an Alternate Work Schedule does not affect the total number of hours an employee is scheduled to work.  In other words, an Alternate Work Schedule will not reduce the typical 40-hour workweek for full-time employees

1. Management-Initiated Alternate Work Schedules.  Management may work with employees to create an Alternate Work Schedule to better meet the demands for department services. Scheduling and departmental staffing as well as the operational functions of the department in relation to other areas will be taken into consideration prior to approving an Alternate Work Schedule.  The Alternate Work Schedule must be documented in a work agreement, as described under subsection 3 below.

An Alternate Work Schedule may be a condition of employment to meet the department’s or unit’s needs. In this case, the requirement will be included when the position is advertised for recruitment and communicated in the employment offer letter.  If there is a change to the Work Schedule after hiring, management will provide advance notice of two weeks to the employee.

2. Employee-Initiated Alternate Work Schedules.  Employees may also request an Alternate Work Schedule to better meet professional and/or personal needs; all employee requests require approval of the supervisor and dean or department or unit head and the Office of Human Resources.  The Alternate Work Schedule must be documented in a work agreement, as described under subsection 3 below.

3. Work Agreement.  The supervisor or manager should document the Alternate Work Schedule by developing a work agreement that describes the Alternate Work Schedule, how the schedule may be changed, the duration of the agreement, and any other expectation with respect to performance of the employee’s work.  The supervisor and employee should review the Alternate Work Schedule 90 days after starting and again on an annual basis for appropriateness and employee performance.

An Alternate Work Schedule (whether supervisor or employee initiated) may be changed by a supervisor or terminated, with the approval of the dean or department or unit head, at any time with at least two weeks’ notice if:

  • the schedule no longer supports the needs of the department, and/or
  • there is a negative impact on the employee’s performance, and/or
  • there is a negative impact in service to the campus community.

V.  Exempt Employees

Exempt employees are expected to adhere to the department’s Standard Workweek schedule, unless an Alternate Work Schedule has been approved.  Exempt employees are also required to work any hours necessary to perform the duties of the job. Exempt employees generally do not receive overtime, compensatory time, or additional pay for hours worked or travel time outside their regular schedule.

VI.  Overtime Hours for Hourly Employees and Non-Exempt Employees

A.  Right to Overtime Pay; Employee Election.  The university pays overtime in accordance with the FLSA and the employee’s overtime election under the university’s Compensatory and Overtime Leave Policy.  Hourly and Non-exempt employees must elect the method of compensation for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek no later than January 9th of each year.  If no election is made, the employee will receive overtime compensatory leave instead of overtime pay, up to a maximum of 120 hours of compensatory leave.  If the employee has elected to receive cash wages in lieu of overtime compensatory leave, or if the accrued overtime compensatory leave balance exceeds 120 hours, the employee must be paid at the employee's Overtime Rate for the hours worked in excess of 40 hours in the workweek.

Time taken as paid time off or non-worked paid holiday hours are not used for the purpose of calculating overtime.  Only actual hours worked are considered for overtime purposes.

B. An Employee May Be Required to Work Overtime.  The employee’s supervisor or manager will inform employees of their Work Schedule, including any overtime hours that the employee may be required to work beyond the customary 40-hour workweek. Employees must work overtime as reasonably required by their supervisor.

C. Work Schedules May be Adjusted to Avoid Overtime.  Supervisors and managers should minimize overtime.  A supervisor or manager may adjust an employee’s Work Schedule temporarily within a workweek to avoid overtime or to ensure successful completion of job responsibilities.   Or, if an employee will reasonably be required to perform work outside of normal business hours, management may reduce the employee’s scheduled work hours during normal business hours on an on-going basis so that the employee can perform work outside of normal business hours and not work in excess of a 40-hour workweek.

D. Weekends, Holidays, Scheduled Days Off.  The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless working such days causes the employee to work in excess of 40-hours.

E. Overtime Must be Pre-Approved; Guidance on Working After Hours. Non-exempt employees are not permitted to work any overtime hours without the prior approval of his or her supervisor or manager, unless the employee’s regular Work Schedule is more than 40 hours.  Approval to work overtime should be confirmed in writing or by email. Overtime hours shall not be approved except where required by exigent circumstances or significant business necessity.

Although the FLSA requires that Hourly and Non-exempt employees be paid for all hours worked whether preapproved or not, failure of an employee to obtain preapproval of overtime is considered a violation of university policy and will be addressed through the university’s conduct and disciplinary process.

Hourly and Non-exempt employees are not expected to check and respond to work related email or engage in any other work outside of the employee’s usual Work Schedule, unless such work is of an incidental nature.  Incidental work is any minor or trivial task that typically takes no more than a few minutes time.  If a Non-exempt or Hourly employee receives a work-related email outside of the employee’s Work Schedule, he or she should typically wait to respond until the beginning of his or her next regularly scheduled workday.

VII.  Lunch Periods and Breaks for Hourly and Non-Exempt Employees

A. Lunch Breaks.  Hourly employees who work at least 6 consecutive hours shall be given a bona fide lunch break of at least 30 minutes except in situations where shift coverage precludes such lunch breaks.  Employees who work a second consecutive shift will typically be given a meal break after working 4 hours during the second shift.

Salaried non-exempt employees should take a bona fide lunch break of up to 60 minutes each day so that the employee does not work in excess of 40 hours during the workweek. A bona fide lunch period does not count as hours worked.  If an employee is required to work during her lunch, that period shall be counted as time worked.  

Managers and supervisors may determine whether or not to permit an employee to work through lunch to compensate for late arrival or early departure. 

B. Other Breaks.  Departments and units, with the approval of Human Resources, may also provide hourly employees with a scheduled break period.  Hourly employees who work an eight-hour day or longer may be provided a maximum of one 15-minute break before and one 15-minute break after the required lunch period.  The lunch period and the break(s) must be taken separately, and breaks should not be used to extend the lunch period.

VIII.  Time-Keeping

A. Hourly and Non-exempt Employees.  Hourly and Non-exempt employees must accurately record all time worked using the university’s record keeping time system. Time records must accurately reflect all work time, whether at the usual work place or at home and whether worked during Normal Business Hours or not. The time record should also reflect any break periods or other time not worked during Normal Business Hours. Falsification of a time record is a violation of university policy.  Falsification includes not recording hours that were worked and/or recording hours that were not worked.

Non-exempt employees should record travel time and attendance at meetings or events away from the usual work place in accordance with university travel guidelines.

B. Exempt Employees.  Exempt employees are responsible for accurately reporting use of any leave in the university’s record keeping time system. Exempt employees should report time away from work in half-hour (.5) increments.

IX.  Authority, Interpretation And Amendment

This policy is approved by the President in accordance with the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act, Chapter 4.10, Title 23 of the Code of Virginia and the Management Agreement effective July 1, 2006. The President has delegated to the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration the authority to revise or amend this policy at any time.

The Office of Human Resources is responsible for the administration and implementation of this policy.

X.  Related Policies, Procedures, And Other Documents

Compensation Policy (for Professionals and Operational Employees)
Classification Policy
Compensatory and Overtime Leave Policy
Emergency Closing Policy
University Travel Guidelines
Overtime Election Form
Operational Employee Leave FAQs (guidance on various topics including overtime)



[1] For certain employees, such as law enforcement officers, the FLSA permits employees to be paid on a work period basis and not a workweek basis. If an alternate workweek has been established for law enforcement in accordance with the provisions of the FLSA, the employee will not be entitled to overtime until he or she has worked the requisite hours in the alternate work period.