Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a Federal Labor Law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, equal pay, record keeping, and child labor standards for employees. The law establishes the tests for determining whether an employee is subject to or exempt from minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.

University employees carry either an "exempt" or "non-exempt" status when it comes to compensation, overtime, and other minimum wage and salary requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The information below outlines the FLSA, the distinction between "exempt" and "non-exempt" statuses, and more.

Who is covered under the FLSA?

The minimum wage and overtime requirements of the FLSA apply to most employees in the United States. However, there are exemptions from the FLSA's requirements that are applicable to many employees working in higher education.

By law, the University of Pittsburgh is required to comply with the FLSA.

Non-Exempt vs. Exempt

Non-Exempt (Biweekly Pay) Exempt (Monthly Pay)

This means an employee is not exempt from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements. In other words, a "non-exempt" employee is eligible for overtime.

Overtime: Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for all time actually worked over 40 hours in a work week at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay. Overtime must be paid through Payroll in the pay period in which it is earned or in the next pay period. Time off MAY NOT be granted in place of payment for overtime hours (hours beyond 40) worked.

Time Record: Non-exempt employees must record work time to ensure accurate records and payment of all wages due as required by the FLSA. Learn how to accurately record work time in Pitt Worx.


This means an employee is "exempt" from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements. 

Exempt employees in higher education include:

  • Bona fide teachers, such as most faculty members;
  • Licensed doctors (including dentists) who are actually engaged in the practice of medicine, and;
  • Individuals who perform certain "exempt" duties and are paid on a salary basis in an amount above the FLSA's minimum salary threshold.

The exemption status of a University staff position is determined by the University’s Compensation Department within the Office of Human Resources and is done so in accordance with criteria established by the FLSA. ​


Pay Type

Non-Exempt (Biweekly Pay) Exempt (Monthly Pay)
  • Subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions established by the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Paid hourly for work performed
  • Pay is based upon the number of hours worked per week. The employee must account for all time worked including the use of sick, vacation, and other leave time on an hourly basis
  • Not subject to (or exempt from) the minimum wage and overtime provisions established by the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Paid on a salaried basis
  • Pay is not based on the amount of time spent at work, but rather for "getting the job done."

Work Expectations

Non-Exempt (Biweekly Pay) Exempt (Monthly Pay)
  • Expected to work the standard University work week (37.5 hours per week)
  • May be docked if they do not work 37.5 hours per week
  • May not work beyond 37.5 hours without prior supervisor approval
  • Expected to work the standard University work week (37.5 hours per week)
  • May be required to work additional hours beyond 37.5 per week
  • Not subject to reduction of pay based on the quality or quantity of work

Compensatory Time

Compensation for hours worked between 37.5 hours and 40 hours in standard work week.

Non-Exempt (Biweekly Pay) Exempt (Monthly Pay)
  • Eligible for Compensatory Time if the total number of hours worked:
    • Exceeds 37.5 hours per week AND is less than or equal to 40 hours per week
  • Maximum accumulation of 2.5 hours per week of compensatory time
  • Sick and bereavement time is not included in the total number of hours worked
  • Compensatory Time may be:
    • Provided as time off OR paid out at the employee’s straight time rate
  • Compensatory Time must be paid out or given during:
    • Month it is earned OR following month
  • Not eligible for Compensatory Time

Overtime Pay

A rate of pay equal to one and one-half times the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay.

Non-Exempt (Biweekly Pay) Exempt (Monthly Pay)
  • Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay if:
    • Hours worked is over 40 per work week OR work was performed on a University recognized Holiday
  • Sick, bereavement, jury duty, and comp hours/days off do not count towards calculating overtime
  • Vacation, personal days, holidays, and recess time do count towards calculating overtime for the week
  • Not eligible for overtime pay for work performed in excess of 40 hours per week


Federal Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Individual states may have different minimum wage rates, but the higher of the federal or state rate would apply. Please note: the minimum wage rate of Pennsylvania is currently $7.25 per hour.

Travel Time

If your position requires you to travel away from your regular work site, that time may be considered compensable. Review these guidelines for differences in types of travel and whether it is compensable. The Department of Labor provides additional guidelines on travel and hours worked.

More Information about the FLSA

The University electronically posts required workplace notices, including "Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act." The University's Office of Human Resources also has additional guidance on the FLSA, including information on how to accurately record work time.

If you require additional information on FLSA, contact the HR Compensation team by submitting an online inquiry.