Most Officers of Administration (OAs) at the University of Oregon are designated as exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Among other provisions, the FLSA provides exemptions from overtime pay for workers categorized as “executive, administrative, or professional.” To qualify for these exemptions, an employee’s position must meet certain statutory tests regarding both job duties and salary. At the UO, FLSA status is determined by staff in the Human Resources.
Professional Work Week
Informed by federal guidance, exempt OAs are generally expected to work a “professional work week,” which, for full-time employment, equates to roughly forty hours a week, but can often mean more hours. Exempt employees are expected to put in as many hours as are required to meet their job responsibilities, including evenings, weekends and extended travel, if necessary.
Under the FLSA, exempt employees are not eligible for paid overtime or compensatory time. In addition, it is not acceptable to track on an hour-by-hour basis the hours worked by exempt employees in excess of a 40-hour workweek and allow additional time off based on those hours worked (similar to compensatory time for nonexempt workers).
Exempt employees have more flexibility during their workday to balance their professional and personal time commitments. It is, however, generally expected that exempt employees will communicate, in advance, with their supervisor about scheduled absences during their typical working hours to ensure that absences do not interfere with the work of the office.
Use of Sick and Vacation Paid Leave
Full day absences:
Exempt Officers of Administration are generally required to use accrued sick and vacation leave (if eligible) for full day absences. If an employee has exhausted his or her paid leave, the employee’s pay may be reduced for full day absences. (Under some circumstances, an employee may be eligible to borrow sick leave. For questions regarding borrowing sick leave, please contact Human Resources.) While it is the general rule that exempt employees are required to use paid leave for full day absences, it is recognized that in certain circumstances, the fulfillment of an employee’s responsibilities requires longer or more irregular hours than in other situations. In such instances, a department may allow an employee the flexibility to attend to personal business away from work during normal works hours without requiring the use of accrued leave. Exercising this flexibility shall not amount to compensating the employee on an hour off for an hour worked basis such as compensatory leave.
Partial day absences:
As a general matter, exempt Officers of Administration at the University of Oregon are expected to use leave accruals for partial day absences in increments of four hours or longer, which means that generally, leave accruals should not be used for partial day absences less than four hours. There are some exceptions to this general guideline based on specific circumstances. For example, employees with approved intermittent Family Medical Leave must record each hour not worked
Partial day absences are intended to acknowledge the hard work of and long hours worked by OAs, and the associated challenge of taking care of personal business when necessary. This does not mean, however, that partial day absences may be used on a regular basis as a form of compensatory leave, or to change the agreed upon works schedule. If an OA has, or intends to have, regular absences from work that deviate from their normal work schedule, they should use accrued leave or explore flexible work options. This is true even if the regular absences are less than four hours. If a supervisor believes that partial day absences are being used inappropriately, they should clarify expectations related to appropriate use. Unlike absences covered by accrued leave, the expectation is that an OA will complete their duties within the normal timelines, when they use partial day absences.
An exempt employee’s pay may not be reduced to cover a partial day absence. This is true even if the employee has exhausted the employee’s paid leave.
Questions about this guidance should be directed to the Employee and Labor Relations team.