What it means to employees

Last updated Oct. 20, 2016

Major impacts on employees changing to non-exempt

If I am affected, what will change?

You will see three main consequences of your position moving from exempt to non-exempt:

  • You will switch from receiving your pay from once at the end of each month (12 paychecks per year) to once every two weeks (26 paychecks per year).
  • You will begin logging your time worked using the TimeNet time and attendance system. (Your supervisor has been notified of this change and will work with you to ensure all time worked is properly recorded as required by the FLSA.)
  • You may not work more than 40 hours per week without prior approval from your supervisor. If you do work extra hours, university employees will be compensated either with compensatory time or overtime pay and health system employees will be compensated with overtime pay.

What will not change?

  • Your annual budgeted compensation will not change
  • Your job and job title will not change
  • Your supervisor will not change
  • Your benefits will not change

Impacts on pay and benefits

If I am affected, what is the difference in how I will be paid?

You will switch from receiving your pay from once at the end of each month (12 paychecks per year) to once every two weeks (26 paychecks per year).

Will my annual take-home pay change?

No. At the end of the fiscal year, your take home pay will be the same. Your pay is not changing, the frequency of receiving it is what is changing.  Employees will have to adapt to being paid 26 time per year rather than 12 times, and this transition will be challenging.  Once on the cycle, some employees may find it beneficial to receive pay more frequently.

Will my benefits change?

No. The amount taken out will be adjusted to a bi-weekly schedule.

Are benefits taken out of every check?

  • University: Benefits are taken out of the first two checks each month. There are 26 paychecks in a year, so in two months of the year you will receive three paychecks; benefits are not taken out of the third paycheck. Your next three-paycheck month is March.
  • Health System: Yes, benefits are taken out of every check.

What is the schedule for the paycheck transition from monthly to bi-weekly?

  • Health System: You will receive your last monthly paycheck Oct. 31, and it will be for the period Oct. 1-29. AUMC employees will begin recording your time worked in TimeNet Sunday, Oct. 30; AUMA w employees will begin Monday, Oct. 31. You will receive your first bi-weekly paycheck Nov. 18, and it will be for a full two-week period. Your second paycheck will come Dec. 2, with two more paychecks in December, on the 16th and 30th.
  • University: You will receive your last monthly paycheck Oct. 31, and it will be for the period Oct. 1-Oct.22. Beginning Oct. 23, you will begin clocking your daily work time via TimeNet. You will receive your first bi-weekly paycheck Nov. 10 for the full two-week pay period Oct. 23-Nov. 5. Thereafter, you will be paid every other Friday. (If Friday is a holiday, you will be paid the last working day of the week.)

Why the delay from the end of the pay period to the paycheck date?

FLSA rules require a time lag so that all employee work hours can be accurately counted.

Isn’t the university implementation date different from what we were originally given?

Yes, based on employee feedback we received through the Employee Advisory Council, we changed the implementation date.

Will benefits be taken out of my partial paycheck?

Yes, we must do that in order for you to keep your benefits without interruption.

What can I do about the cash flow shortfall?

Augusta University and the USG are working to provide several options to help employees through this transition:

  • USG is offering employees the option to cash out up to 48 hours of annual and unscheduled holiday leave, if they choose. See details in next FAQ
  • Our credit union, HCCU, has agreed to help:
    • They will offer employees changing to non-exempt 0-to-low interest bridge loans of up to $2,000. Applications will be accepted between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1
    • If you already have a loan with HCCU (e.g., car loan, line of credit, etc.), they will re-calculate monthly payments to convert them to bi-weekly and extend the next due date to Dec. 9, 2016, or later based on application date (called Skip-a-Pay option). There is a $25 processing fee for this.
    • For more information or to apply for an FLSA bridge loan or the skip-a-pay option, contact Mercedes Petkus at mpetkus@augusta.edu or 706-434-1461.

How will the leave cash-out option work for newly non-exempt employees?

USG is offering employees the opportunity to “cash out” up to 48 hours of their annual leave and unscheduled holiday leave to help with the transition.

  • This is a one-time only option limited to affected employees, which may be exercised through May 5, 2017.
  • This is a voluntary option.
  • An employee may not use or convert sick leave for this purpose.
  • Employees with fewer than 48 hours will be allowed to use their full available annual leave balance.
  • Only hours that have already been accrued may be requested. (Employees may not request leave they expect to earn in the future.)
  • Employees will not be able to buy back hours at a later date.
  • Employees electing this option will receive the vacation and/or unscheduled holiday along with their regular pay for hours worked.

How do I apply for the cash-out option?

  • Fill out the Vacation Cash-Out Request Form and provide it to your supervisor.
  • Your supervisor will confirm that you have the leave hours available and that any leave already requested and approved will be adjusted, if necessary.
    • For example, an employee with 58 hours of annual leave who has been approved for a week of leave (40 hours) in December and who now decides to request 48 hours of vacation cash out for their October check may have to void or reduce the leave requested for December, since they will no longer have the hours available. Your supervisor may still approve the leave, but please be aware:
      • that any leave in excess of your balance will be leave without pay, and
      • that leave may not be taken before it is accrued.
    • Your supervisor will sign the form and return it to you to submit to Tamara Rehbein in the Payroll Office.
    • Deadlines to receive the cash-out pay for each pay period can be found here. Forms received after the specified deadlines will be paid out on the following payroll (with the exception of the final deadline of May 5).

What will be my new take home pay?

The HR benefits group delivered sample paychecks to supervisors of affected employees. If you have not received yours, check with your supervisor, then with the benefits contact listed the contacts page.

How will I need to change my personal budgeting going forward?

Your bank may be a resource for budgeting questions. We encourage you to identify any automatic drafts you have set up with banks or other businesses in case you need to adjust payment dates to fit a bi-weekly pay schedule. Please check with your bank or other businesses in advance of the change to ensure they have adequate time to make these adjustments prior to your new pay schedule.

In addition, HCCU and TIAA-CREF (one of the USG retirement company options) will offer budget-planning sessions to provide additional advice and guidance. Dates and times will be communicated shortly.

Can I remain in the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)?

For employees currently in the Optional Retirement Plan, the change to non-exempt will not affect your retirement. You will remain with ORP since the retirement plan election is irrevocable.

If I travel for my job, how should I track my travel time?

In general, time spent traveling during your normal work hours is considered worked time, though some travel activities are compensable and some are not.

Prior to traveling, a non-exempt employee should discuss with her or her manager how to record time while traveling and how it will be compensated.  If traveling to a conference or meeting, the conference schedule or meeting agenda will generally provide a reasonable guide for what time is considered compensable time. The following guidelines will generally apply:

Travel during the employee’s standard work hours will be recorded as regular time worked and the employee’s supervisor will be expected to enter the hours worked using the TimeNet System if the employee is not able to enter the time themselves. Following the travel, the supervisor is expected to confirm the hours with the employee and make any necessary adjustments in TimeNet.

Travel outside of the employee’s standard work hours will be recorded as regular time worked:

  • When the employee is actually en route to and/or from the alternate location, via commercial transportation or private car; however, when an employee is traveling by air or rental vehicle, time worked will begin upon the arrival of the employee at the airport for departure or the location for rental car pickup and end when the employee reaches the alternate site end location, i.e., hotel or conference site.
  • When the employee is at the alternate location and engaged in work for the benefit of Augusta University, including attending meetings or conference sessions. Meal periods are not paid while traveling unless it is a working meal period, i.e., a working lunch. Free time once at the alternate location and/or time for meals, receptions or other non-work activities will not be considered time worked, even if provided by the conference.
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