Direct Compensation: Hours Worked and Pay

Policies and Procedures Manual Section 5

Accuracy in pay

Western Michigan University is committed to accurately compensating employees in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws.  Part of this process is to classify some employees as exempt from overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and some as nonexempt.  Improper or unauthorized deductions from the salary of an employee classified as exempt are not permitted.  Only properly authorized deductions may be made, such as (1) deductions in compliance with income tax or payroll tax laws and regulations, (2) legally-permitted deductions authorized in writing by the affected employee or designated representative or guardian, or (3) deductions permitted by the FLSA.  Likewise, any underpayment or overpayment of regular wages or overtime premium pay to employees who are not exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA should be corrected as soon as the mistake is discovered.  Please contact Human Resources if you are uncertain about the classification of your position.

While the University makes every effort to ensure its employees are paid correctly, mistakes do happen.  Please regularly review your pay to make sure it is correct.  Any improper or unauthorized deductions of salary for exempt employees, or any underpayment or overpayment of regular wages or overtime pay for nonexempt employees, should be reported immediately to Human Resources so a prompt investigation may be conducted.  If found to be improper, unauthorized or incorrect, the deducted amount or wage error will be reimbursed to the affected employee as soon as reasonably practicable.  Prompt corrective measures will be undertaken in good faith to prevent, or minimize, the future likelihood of such improper or unauthorized deductions or the underpayment or overpayment of wages.  The University will not retaliate against any employee who makes a complaint under this policy.  Unless reported promptly, pay deductions and wage payments will be presumed to be correct and accurate.

Work week

The University's work week runs from Monday at 12:00:01 a.m. through Sunday at midnight. 

Recording hours worked

  1. No absence will be paid automatically. If the employee is eligible to be paid for the absence, he/she must request this payment when reporting his/her time by noting the hours and type of leave (e.g., bereavement leave, annual leave, sick leave, court required service, etc.). Otherwise, the absence must be recorded as no-pay.
  2. Actual pay for sick and annual leave must not exceed the amount available in the employee's accrual balance.
  3. Whenever an employee is absent from regularly scheduled work hours, even if on annual leave, sick leave, or no pay status, the time must be recorded and the employee shown as absent.
  4. Hours reported by employees must be verified by the supervisor or designee authorized to approve departmental payroll records.
  5. Individual time reports must coincide with time reported in Kronos (or the current payroll time reporting method). Do not sign an incorrect time report. Severe penalties, up to and including discharge, can result from an employee submitting a false time report.
  6. Time reports are to be retained by the departments for at least three years, and may be inspected and audited by both University and non-University authorized personnel.

Reporting your time

  1. Nonexempt (hourly paid) employees record their work hours either on a time report or by using a time clock. Your supervisor will tell you which method is used in your department. If a paper time report is used:
    • All hours worked, including those in excess of 40 in one week, must be reported.
    • The time report should be completed daily.
    • Every absence must be explained.
    • The report is to be signed by the employee and turned in for the supervisor's signature; your department will tell you when they are due.
    Time reports are part of each department's records and must match the biweekly time reported in Kronos. Detailed instructions for filling out the time report are on the reverse side of the report form. Nonexempt employees are eligible for overtime pay.
  2. Exempt (salaried) employees must record and certify their hours worked. Your department will instruct you on their policy for reporting time. All absences and use of leave must be recorded on this report. Detailed instructions for filling out this report are available from Payroll and Disbursements. Overtime pay is not paid to exempt (salaried) employees.


Overtime pay is required whenever a nonexempt (hourly paid) employee works more than 40 hours in one week. The overtime rate is one and one-half times the regular hourly rate. All overtime hours must be pre-authorized by the employee's supervisor. Exempt (salaried) employees are not eligible for overtime pay. 

After a nonexempt (hourly paid) employee with multiple appointments has worked 40 hours in a workweek (combining all hours worked in all appointments), the employee will be paid overtime for each additional hour worked during the remainder of the workweek at one and one-half times the hourly rate for the appointment in which that hour is worked. The employee’s regular and overtime compensation will be paid by the departments responsible for the employee’s appointments in accordance with the regular and overtime hours worked in each appointment

Procedure for recording overtime

All hours worked, including those in excess of 40 in one week, must be reported on the time report. Paid sick leave, annual leave and holidays are considered as time worked when computing overtime pay.

Compensatory time

Compensatory ("comp") time (i.e., time off with pay on one day in lieu of overtime pay for hours worked on another day) is not allowed under University pay policy. For nonexempt (hourly paid) employees, all hours worked in a day must be duly recorded and paid, including eligible overtime, for the day during which the work was performed.

Supervisors can and should adjust the working schedules of exempt (salaried) employees who are required to work an extraordinary number of hours. Human Resources should be consulted regarding reasonable and appropriate arrangements.

Shift premium

The University has three shift schedules. Most employees work the day shift; however, employees may be assigned to afternoon or night shift, depending upon departmental needs. Certain hourly paid individuals may receive a shift premium when regularly assigned to work the afternoon or night shift. Assignment of a shift premium is at the discretion of management.

Day shift

  • Times: Starts at or after 5 a.m., but before 2 p.m.
  • Premium paid: None.

Afternoon shift

  • Times: Starts at or after 2 p.m., but before 9 p.m.
  • Premium paid: 40 cents per hour.

Night shift

  • Times: Starts at or after 9 p.m., but before 5 a.m.
  • Premium paid: 50 cents per hour.


Information about paydays is located in the employee handbook. A copy of the fiscal year pay period schedule is available at Payroll and Disbursements.

Payroll installment options

Subject to type of appointment and bargaining unit contract, academic year faculty at Western Michigan University may be able to select either an 18-pay period or 26-pay period. The salary election option form is available from Payroll and Disbursements.

Academic year non-bargaining employees may not elect to have their pay extended over additional pay periods.

Payroll choices

Information about payroll choices is located in the employee handbook.

Payroll deductions

The University is required by law to withhold income tax and Social Security tax from pay. In addition to the required deductions, a number of voluntary deductions are available as a service to employees. Also see payroll deductions in the employee handbook.

  1. Income tax and exemptions. Federal and state income taxes are compulsory deductions under federal and state law. Taxes are withheld from each biweekly pay in accordance with the gross pay per biweekly pay and the number of exemptions claimed on the employee's W-4 withholding exemption certificate. Until an employee files a W-4 with Payroll and Disbursements, the maximum deduction will be withheld, in accordance with the law.

    Any change in exemptions requires that a new W-4 be submitted to Payroll and Disbursements. The online W-4 form is available in employee self service through GoWMU by selecting the W-4 tax information option. This online form may be used for federal and state tax reporting. Paper forms are required to change local tax withholding and are available via Payroll and Disbursements.
  2. Social Security tax and Social Security numbers. Deductions for Social Security tax are required by federal law. A percentage of pay, as determined by the Social Security Act, is withheld from each biweekly pay. In addition, the University is required to contribute an equal amount for future Social Security retirement and/or disability benefits.

    Social Security contributions are recorded and reported by Social Security number; therefore, it is critical that the payroll advice reflects an accurate Social Security number. To correct a Social Security number, contact Human Resources.
  3. Voluntary deductions.
    1. Employees may authorize deductions from their pay for banks and credit unions, United Way, WMU's Annual Fund, recreation fees, and season tickets for University athletic and cultural programs. More information and applicable authorization forms are available from Payroll and Disbursements.

      Voluntary deductions to meet other personal financial obligations are not allowed unless they are part of a bank or credit union deduction and include the direct deposit of pay.
    2. Group insurance, tax-deferred savings and flexible spending plans: payroll deduction covers employee premiums for group insurance programs. In addition, employees who enroll in the optional tax-deferred savings plan or flexible spending plans will have contributions deducted from pay.
  4. Wage attachments. Although the University does not wish to become involved in the personal financial matters of employees, it is required to honor garnishments, wage assignments, and levies as prescribed by law.
    1. Garnishments. Properly authorized garnishments require withholding pay based upon a formula established by law. Payroll and Disbursements notifies all individuals for whom garnishments are received, specifying the latest date a release of garnishment can be presented to avoid the stated payroll deduction. Wages are garnisheed by one writ of garnishment per pay period. If more than one garnishment is received during any given pay period for an individual employee, only the earliest received writ of garnishment can be honored.
    2. Wage assignments. Properly authorized wage assignments require that a specific amount of pay be withheld. The stated deduction must be withheld from consecutive pay periods until such time as the University receives a release and/or the amount of indebtedness is paid.
    3. Levies. Properly authorized levies require a specified withholding for a particular pay period. Levies are processed in compliance with federal or state statutes.

Procedure for wage attachments

  1. Should any department, other than Payroll and Disbursements, receive garnishments, wage assignments, or levies for a University employee, those forms should immediately be delivered to Payroll and Disbursements. Payroll and Disbursements will process the necessary paperwork to ensure compliance.
  2. As with other employment matters, garnishments, wage assignments and levies are to be treated in a confidential manner.

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