There are many rules governing time spent at work. In this section you will find information on the differences between Exempt and Non-Exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the definition of overtime, rules about break times, shift differentials for alternate work schedules, and more.
For more information, go to Alternate Schedule (Including ERIT) and Paid + Unpaid Timeoff Resources
Use the index below to navigate throughout this page
Minimum Earnings Requirement for Exempt Employees at UC
Minimum earnings threshold to be exempt at UC = $47,476/year (eff 11/20/16)
On November 20, 2016 the UC system implemented a change to the minimum salary earned requirement for non-academic, staff, exempt employees by increasing the minimum earnings threshold from $455/week (approximately $23,660/year) to $913/week (approximately $47,476/year). UC staff employees in positions classified as exempt that do not meet this earnings threshold are eligible for overtime pay and must be paid on the biweekly pay schedule.
Note: The FLSA minimum earnings threshold is $684/week ($35,568/year), effective January 1, 2020, however, UC chooses to abide by their own minimum earnings threshold of $47,476/year.
FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act): Non-Exempt Status & Overtime
Non-exempt employees are defined as employees who, based on duties performed and manner of compensation, shall be subject to all FLSA provisions and are eligible for overtime pay. Because of hourly pay practices, an employee appointed to a per diem position shall be treated as a non-exempt employee subject to FLSA minimum wage and overtime provisions.
Non-exempt employees shall be required to account for time worked on an hourly basis reported to the nearest 1/4 hour, and are to be compensated for qualified overtime hours at the premium (time-and-one-half) rate. Non-exempt titles are identified in University wide title and pay plans.
In general, overtime is time worked that exceeds the hours of a full-time employee’s regular daily schedule on pay status or exceeds 40 hours on pay status in a workweek. Pay status includes time worked and paid leave such as sick leave, vacation leave, holidays, military leave, compensatory time off, and administrative leave with pay. Overtime shall be reported and compensated on the basis of the nearest ¼ hour.
*The definition of overtime is different for several collective bargaining units. Please consult the applicable collective bargaining agreement). The definition of overtime for Policy-Covered Employees (99) can be found in PPSM-30: Compensation.
Compensation for Overtime:
In general, employees shall be compensated at the straight-time rate for hours of overtime not exceeding 40 hours of actual work in a workweek, and shall be compensated at the premium rate of 1-1/2 times the regular rate of pay for hours worked which exceed 40 hours of actual work in a workweek. Hours on pay status, not including time worked, are compensated at the straight-time rate of pay.
Note: Under certain circumstances, premium overtime provisions may not apply to employees engaged in agricultural work, employees whose primary duty is the operation of a vessel, or certain seasonal recreational employees. This calculation may also be different for employees in certain collective bargaining units. Please consult the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
Please refer to Policy 30, Compensation, in PPSM for more specifics on overtime pay provisions for Policy Covered Employees (99), including specific overtime provisions for Police Sergeants and Lieutenants.
Computer professionals who are paid on an hourly basis and who are paid more than 6-1/2 times the minimum wage will also be considered exempt from premium overtime provisions.
Additional Information Regarding Non-Exempt Positions:
Staff Research Associate 2 (SRA2)
Please Note: UC will NO longer utilize the EXEMPT level SRA 2 title. All incoming SRA 2's will be placed into the non-exempt SRA 2 title code 9617. This became effective November 20, 2016.
Part-time Non-exempt Appointment Percentages:
Part-time, non-exempt employees are paid in quarter hour increments, therefore, fixed percentage appointments in UCPath must have a percentage amount that is divisible by quarter hour increments. The recommended practice is to determine the set work hours scheduled per week and divide by 40 to determine the actual percentage of time scheduled. For example, 43% time equates to 17.20 hours per week which is not a quarter hour increment (quarter hour increments would include 17 hours, or 17.25 hours). A part-time, non-exempt employee could work a regular schedule of 17 hours per week (42.5%).
FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act): Exempt Status
Exempt employees are defined as employees who, based on duties performed and manner of compensation, shall be exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime provisions. Because of hourly pay practices, an employee appointed to a per diem position in an exempt title shall be treated as a non-exempt employee subject to FLSA minimum wage and overtime provisions.
There are several categories under which an employee may be considered exempt. Described below are the categories of Administrative, Executive, Professional, Creative, Teaching and Computer. These FLSA categories generally define an exempt employee as one who customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment on matters of significance in the performance of his/her duties.
Employees must (1) pass one of the exemption categories below, (2) be paid on a salary basis, and (3) pass the Salary Basis Test to qualify for exempt status.
The Salary Basis test is a minimum wage that is set by FLSA - $684/week ($35,568/yr) effective 1/1/20. This minimum is scheduled for review every 3 years.
In addition to this minimum, the University of California has imposed a higher minimum threshold of $913/week ($47,476/year) which must be met in order to be Exempt at UC.
Employees working part-time should only count the part-time equivalent salary they earn - not the full-time equivalent salary. The FLSA Salary Basis test does not apply to some jobs (for example, doctors, lawyers, and school teachers). One of the following exemption categories must be met in order to qualify for exempt status:
- The Administrative exemption is designed for relatively high-level employees whose main job is to keep the business running. Administrative exempt employees are distinguished from "operational" or "production" employees. To be exempt, work must be office or non-manual work, and must be for matters of significance. Administratively exempt work typically involves the exercise of discretion and judgment, with the authority to make independent decisions on matters which affect the business as a whole or a significant part of it. Exempt employees usually have authority to formulate or interpret company policies, to commit the employer in matters which have significant financial impact, and authority to deviate from company policy without prior approval. Positions customarily and regularly exercise independent judgment and discretion more than 50% of the time. Positions in this category must meet the Salary Basis Test.
- The Executive exemption is for positions whose primary duty (more than 50%) is supervision and management of employees and/or a department or subdivision. They regularly exercise independent judgment and discretion on matters of significance more than 50% of the time. Under the executive exemption, positions must directly and fully supervise 2 or more full-time employees and have the ability to make employment and disciplinary decisions. Positions in this category must meet the Salary Basis Test.
- The Professional (or Learned) exemption is for employees who perform work that requires advanced knowledge (and usually advanced education) similar to traditional learned professions (lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers, architects, accountants, engineers, scientists, etc). It must involve work that is predominately intellectual in character, requires prolonged learning and specialized intellectual instruction, and involves the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment on matters of significance. The Salary Basis Test does not apply to some employees in this category (doctors, lawyers, and school teachers).
- The Creative Professional exemption is for work that requires invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. Examples of such jobs are actors, musicians, composers, writers, graphic artists, cartoonists, some journalists, and others who may contribute a unique interpretation or analysis in the course of their creative work. Positions in this category must meet the Salary Basis Test.
- The Teaching exemption is for positions whose primary duty is teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge to others, and if they are employed and engaged in this activity as a teacher in an educational establishment. Exempt teachers may include academic teachers, kindergarten or pre-school teachers, and teachers of gifted or disabled children. Having a primary duty of teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge includes, by its very nature, exercising discretion and judgment. The Salary Basis Test does not apply to employees in this category.
Note about Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) and Post-Docs: GSRs are considered exempt under FLSA by way of the "teaching" exemption, however, Post-Docs are considered non-exempt. Please contact Academic Personnel for more information.
- The Computer exemption applies to some positions in the computer field that exercise independent judgment and discretion more than 50% of the time. Computer professions may be considered exempt when they meet certain criteria AND are paid on a salary basis or an hourly basis that is at least $913/week ($47,476/yr). Examples of exempt computer positions could be computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, network managers, LAN/WAN administrators, database administrators, and web site design and maintenance specialists. The employee’s primary duties must consist of:
1) The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications;
2) The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;
3) The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or
4) A combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.
Exempt Employee Pay Practices
Exempt employees shall be paid an established monthly or annual salary and are expected to fulfill the duties of their position regardless of hours worked. The workweek for full-time exempt employees is normally considered to be 40 hours, and for part-time employees the proportion of 40 hours equivalent to the appointment percentage; however, greater emphasis is placed on meeting the responsibilities assigned to the position than on working a specified number of hours. Exempt employees are not eligible to receive overtime compensation or compensatory time off.
Generally speaking, exempt employees are expected to be present at work during their scheduled work times in order to perform work that is essential to the unit’s operations. They can also be expected to arrive at a certain time in order to assure that the workplace is properly staffed for business. Management should discuss with their exempt employees how their expectations of work relate to time spent at work. Management can ask exempt employees to inform them if they will not be at work during some hours of a typical work day. It is not only common courtesy, but it is necessary so that others who need to coordinate with that employee can be informed of the change in work schedule for the day. Exempt titles are identified in the University wide title and pay plan, located on TCS.
Compensatory Time Off (Election Forms)
Generally, overtime earned under FLSA is compensable as pay. Management has the discretion to allow employees to elect compensatory time off in lieu of pay utilizing the appropriate election form by policy or the applicable collective bargainnig agreement. An employee must be permitted to use the compensatory time within a reasonable period after making the request if the use of the compensatory time does not unduly disrupt the operations of the department.
Compensatory time off at the straight-time rate of pay:
Compensatory time off at the straight-time rate of pay may be scheduled by the department head within the same workweek in which the overtime is earned to avoid hours of actual work in excess of 40 in that workweek (or to avoid hours in excess of limits set by the applicable collective bargaining agreement).
Compensatory time off for overtime accrued at the premium rate:
Compensatory time off accumulated for actual hours worked beyond 40 hours in a work week (premium overtime) are accrued at time and one half. (e.g.: An employee who has elected to received compensatory time off who works 1 hour of premium overtime will accrue 1.5 hours of compensatory time.)
Maximum Accruals and Payout Requirements:
In general, no more than 240 hours (160 hours of actual premium overtime work at time and one-half) of compensatory time may be accrued (please check the applicable collective bargaining agreement). Policy covered employees shall be paid for hours of premium overtime that exceed the maximum accrual limit. Accrued hours of overtime shall be paid at the employee’s rate at the time of payment:
- if not taken as compensatory time off within 6 months, or an extended period authorized by local guidelines; or
- upon separation. (Note: If the final rate at the time of payment is lower than the average hourly rate received by the employee during the last three years of employment, payment upon separation must be based on the higher of the two rates.)
Note: Upon an intercampus transfer, a transfer to another UCSB campus department or reclassification or promotion of a position from non-exempt to exempt, the department is responsible for payout of all compensatory time balances within 30 days of the action.
If management determines that compensatory time is an option available to the employee, an employee may upon hire and thereafter during the month of June*, file the applicable Compensatory Time Election Form below, with her/ his immediate supervisor, to indicate their preference to accrue compensatory time in lieu of paid overtime.
Non-represented employees and represented employees in the following units who elect compensatory time are required to submit a Compensatory Time Election Form: CX, HX, NX, RX, SX, TX, and K8. Employees in the EX unit are not required to submit this form, but are encouraged to do so.
The preference indicated on the election form will remain in effect until it is superceded by a revised form with a more recent date, OR until the department decides to discontinue offering compensatory time off as a method of compensation for overtime.
*Employees within the HX and K8 units may file a Compensatory Time Election Form within one month of their hire. K8 employees may submit a revised election form each year on the anniversary of their hire date.
Compensatory Time Election Forms:
Hours of Work
Note: The following provisions apply to non-represented employees only. Please refer to the appropriate collective bargaining agreement for the provisions that apply to represented employees.
Exempt Employees: The workweek for full-time exempt employees is normally considered to be 40 hours, and for part-time employees the proportion of 40 hours equivalent to the appointment percentage; however, greater emphasis is placed on meeting the responsibilities assigned to the position than on working a specified number of hours. Exempt employees do not receive overtime compensation, compensatory time off, or additional compensation beyond the established salary for the position except as provided in Staff Policy 30.III.B.7-10.
Non-Exempt Employees: The regular number of hours worked by full-time, non-exempt employees is 40 hours in a workweek. Work beyond 40 hours in a week is subject to additional compensation only under the circumstances described in Staff Policy 30, Compensation, or in the appropriate collective bargaining unit agreement.
- Meal Periods - Any work period of 5 continuous hours or more shall provide for a meal period of at least ½ hour. Meal periods, which should be substantially duty-free, are neither time worked nor time on pay status.
- Rest Periods - A full-time employee may be granted two 15-minute rest periods, one to be taken in the work period prior to the meal period and one in the work period following the meal period. A part-time employee may be granted one 15-minute rest period for each work period of 3 continuous hours or more, not to exceed two rest periods per day. Such rest periods shall be considered as time worked.
- Activities Before or After the Work Schedule - When the University requires that the employee must change into or out of uniform, engage in special washing or cleaning procedures, or perform other activities on or at a University facility before or after the work period, the time spent in such activities shall be considered as time worked.
- Travel Time - Assigned travel during an employee’s regular working hours on work days is counted as time worked. Travel time between home and the work place is not time worked. Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight and that occurs outside the employee’s normal working hours is not considered as hours of work. However, travel that does not keep an employee away from home overnight is considered as hours worked, as is travel that occurs during the hours an employee normally works when the travel occurs on the employee’s days off.
- Call-Back - When an employee is called back to work after completing the regular work schedule and leaving the premises, the employee shall be paid for time actually worked upon return or a minimum of three hours, whichever is greater. Call-back time actually worked must be included in the calculation of the regular rate.
- On-Call – An employee is considered to be in on-call status only when assigned by the University. On-call will be considered hours worked when an employee is required to restrict personal activities so that the employee cannot use his or her time effectively for the employee’s own purposes. Under such circumstances, the employee will be paid at the employee’s normal pay rate (or overtime when appropriate).
On-call will not be considered hours worked when employees are free to engage in activities for their own purposes, but are required to inform the employer how they can be reached or to carry a beeper or radio. It is not mandatory to compensate for this type of on-call; however, locations may establish on-call rates according to local needs.
Payment for on-call time is included as part of compensation in calculating the regular rate for determining premium overtime pay. An employee in on-call status is not eligible for minimum call-back payments.
Note: These provisions apply to non-represented employees only (including Students). Please refer to the appropriate collective bargaining unit agreement for the policies governing unit employees.
A shift differential shall be paid to an employee in an eligible class as designated in the University-wide Title and Pay Plan, who is required by management to work an assigned evening or night shift. Work which is scheduled during the evening or night hours on the basis of convenience to the employee shall not be considered an assigned evening or night shift for the purpose of this policy.
A shift differential shall be paid for all hours of a shift when four hours or more of a shift are worked after 5:00 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m.
Payment for shift differential is included as part of compensation in calculating the regular rate for determining premium overtime pay.
An employee who receives a shift differential for an assigned evening or night shift shall receive the differential for all overtime worked.
When an employee who usually works on an evening or night shift is temporarily assigned to a day shift for a period of four working days or less, the employee shall continue to receive the shift differential. A change in shift assignment initiated by the employee is not covered by this policy.
The shift differential shall be included in payments for all types of paid leave, provided that the employee would have been expected to work that shift or shifts were the employee not on paid leave.
A weekend differential shall be paid to an employee in an eligible class who is required by management to work an assigned weekend shift. Work which is scheduled during the weekend hours on the basis of convenience to the employee shall not be considered an assigned weekend shift for the purpose of this policy.
Payment for weekend differential is included as part of compensation in calculating the regular rate for determining premium overtime pay.