FLSA Compliance Project

Western Michigan University is partnering with the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd to prepare for the pending changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which were announced by the Department of Labor on May 18.

In conjunction with the announcement of the new FLSA guidelines, the Department of Labor also rolled out specific information about how the new regulations will work in higher education. Questions you have may well be answered by that information, which can be found here: Overtime Final Rule and Higher Education and here: Guidance for Higher Education Institutions on Paying Overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Details about WMU’s compliance efforts are outlined below. 

Project objective

To ensure that all WMU employees are paid appropriately under the Fair Labor Standards Act as amended by the 2016 Department of Labor Regulations, effective Dec. 1, 2016.

Guiding principles

  • Questions regarding compliance with the 2016 amendments will be forwarded to Warner Norcross & Judd for review and recommendation.
  • All employees doing the same job (i.e. same job code/job title) should have the same FLSA status (exempt/salaried or nonexempt/hourly), with the possible exception of part-time employees (where FTE < 1.0).
  • Decisions about whether to 1) maintain jobs as exempt by increasing salaries to meet the new threshold or 2) change jobs to nonexempt, will be based upon University business needs and budget impact, with operating divisions to have as much decision making authority as possible for jobs specific to their operation. Decisions regarding jobs that exist campus-wide will be made at the senior leadership level.
  • For staff compensation system positions, any salary adjustments will be made in a manner that preserves the integrity of the compensation system, and as such, will require consulting with Aon Hewitt. 

 Communications timeline

  • WMU is planning town hall meetings to update the campus community on the FLSA compliance project for Tuesday, Oct. 18, with two identical presentations planned for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Both sessions will be held at Fetzer Center's Kirsch Auditorium and will also be available via live stream video
  • Individual notification to employees expected to be impacted, Wednesday, Oct. 19. 
  • Informational/training sessions to explain federal, state, and University requirements for nonexempt/hourly employees are planned as follows:
    • Monday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Kirsch Auditorium, Fetzer Center
    • Tuesday, Oct. 25, 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., Kirsch Auditorium, Fetzer Center
    • Thursday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Putney Lecture Hall, Fetzer Center
  • In order to give the University additional time to react to any changes to the new FLSA guidelines or any delay in the federal effective date, WMU is adjusting our planned implementation date as follows:
    • Effective date for pay adjustments necessary to meet the salary threshold for any job that WMU decides to keep exempt/salaried, Dec. 1, rather than Nov. 15 as previously communicated.
    • Effective date for changes for those moving from exempt/salaried to nonexempt/hourly, Nov. 28, rather than Nov. 21, as previously communicated. 
  • On Tuesday, Nov. 22, a Federal court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction preventing the new FLSA salary rules from going into effect on Dec. 1. To ensure that we follow the law and avoid unnecessary disruption, the University is delaying implementation of salary and status changes related to the new rules until we have more clarity on this issue. 

Policy updates

As part of the FLSA compliance project, the University has updated the HR policies and procedures manual as follows: