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Frequently Asked Questions

Pay (e.g. On-Call, Overtime)

Is on-call considered working time?

The issue of pay for on-call time depends largely upon the employee's freedom while on-call, including how quickly s/he is required to respond to the call. If an employee can come and go freely while on-call, that time is not compensable. If the employee must remain on or close to the employer's premises and cannot use the time freely, the time may be considered working time and could be compensable. For example, an employee who is required to leave a telephone number where s/he can be reached or carry a beeper would not normally be compensated for that on-call time, unless a very short response time (e.g. within a few minutes) is required and such a response time is unreasonable.

Can a supervisor require a bi-weekly paid employee to work overtime?

Bi-weekly paid employees can be required to work overtime if there is a business need. If this is the case, the employee would be paid overtime.

What happens if an employee responds to an e-mail after regular working hours?

Any time that a bi-weekly paid employee performs work for the benefit of the employer, s/he must be compensated at the appropriate rate (regular or overtime depending on situation). Time worked includes, but is not limited to: reading or answering e-mails from home, any work for the employer performed offsite, working over the lunch hour, etc.

Must employees who come in early to work be paid for that time?

The conditions under which the employee comes into work early would determine whether or not the time would be considered working time. If, for example, an employee comes in early and reads a book until the time the workday begins, this time would not be considered working time and thus not compensable. On the other hand, if the employee comes in early and begins working, the time would be considered working time and thus compensable. However, bi-weekly paid employees who work overtime without prior authorization are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Positions

Where can I obtain a copy of my position description?

Employees should contact their immediate supervisor to request a copy of their position description. If a supervisor does not have a copy, s/he should request a copy from the departmental business office, Human Resources-Compensation, Human Resources Team (Housing & Food Services, Physical Facilities), or their respective regional campus Human Resources department.

How often should a position description be updated?

Good practice is to review positions internally at least every 2-3 years. If there have been significant changes to the role/scope of the position, then the description should be updated and sent to Human Resources-Compensation, Human Resources Team (Housing & Food Services or Physical Facilities), or respective regional campus Human Resources department for review.

Travel

What is considered compensable while traveling for business?

Time spent traveling is considered “time worked” if you are required to do any of the following:

  • Travel during regular working hours
    • Time spent by an employee in travel as part of his/her principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday or travel to and from a training event.
    • When an employee is required to report at a meeting place to receive instructions, perform work there, pick up tools, or a vehicle, the travel time from the meeting place to the work place is part of the day's work and must be recorded as time worked.
  • Travel as a passenger out of town (same work day)
    • An employee who travels out of town for one day must be paid for all hours spent traveling, except for bona fide meal periods and any travel time from home to the local rail, bus, plane terminal, or meeting place to join University provided transportation.
  • Travel as a passenger out of town (overnight) during regular working hours
    • An employee who travels overnight on business (e.g. more than one day) must be paid for time spent in travel (except bona fide meal periods) during their regular working hours on regular work days as well as non-work days (e.g. Saturday, Sunday, University holidays).
    • If an employee drives a vehicle, the travel time is considered time worked, regardless of whether it occurs during regular working hours or outside of working hours.
    • If an employee performs work while traveling as a passenger, the travel time is considered time worked, regardless of whether it occurs during regular working hours or outside of working hours. This work must be approved by the supervisor.

What is not considered compensable while traveling for business?

  • Time spent traveling is not compensable for the following:
  • Travel from home to work or to designated starting location
  • Travel from worksite or designated ending location to home
  • Travel as a passenger outside of normal working hours when traveling out of town overnight
  • Time when you are completely relieved from duty
  • Unusually long or extended waiting periods that occur prior to an employee's initial departure time or between actual periods of travel if the employee is free to rest, sleep, or otherwise use the time for his/her own purposes

How do you record travel between time zones?

When an employee's travel involves two or more time zones, the time zone from the point of first departure must be used to determine compensable travel status. For example, if an employee travels from his/her official duty station in West Lafayette, IN to a temporary duty station in San Diego, CA, the West Lafayette, IN time zone (eastern) must be used to determine hours in travel status. However, on the return trip home to West Lafayette, IN, the San Diego, CA time zone (pacific) must be used to determine hours in travel status.

Vacation and Sick Time, University Holidays

Please reference the recording leave document.

Miscellaneous

How are the terms “occasional or sporadic” and “different capacity” defined?

The 1985 Amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provide that when state or local government employees, at their option, work “occasionally or sporadically” on a part-time basis for the same agency in a capacity different from their regular employment, the hours worked in the different job do not have to be combined with the regular hours for the purpose of determining overtime liability. The term “occasional or sporadic” means infrequent, irregular or occurring in scattered instances. The term “in a capacity different from their regular employment” is defined by the Department of Labor (DOL) as work that must not fall within the same general occupational category. These are referred to as secondary appointments.

This can be illustrated best by the following example: If a regular, full-time secretary in one department performs part-time clerical duties in another department, on an occasional or sporadic basis, s/he must be paid overtime for all hours in pay status in excess of eight hours daily and/or 40 hours weekly. In this instance, both the secretarial and part-time clerical duties fall into the same general occupational category. However, if that same regular full-time secretary performs work as a ticket taker in another department, on an occasional or sporadic basis, the hours worked as a ticket taker do not have to be combined with the regular hours worked as a secretary for the purpose of determining overtime. In this instance, the skills necessary to perform as a ticket taker would fall into a different general occupational category from the employee's regular secretarial position. Also, the sporadic nature of the work affects the determination of the secondary appointment.