Brilliant Bits from Boston: Changes to The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Brilliant Bits from Boston: Changes to The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Jan Gartner

Jan Gartner, UUA Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager

FLSA is a federal law that protects workers by establishing standards for a minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment. Every employee of your congregation needs to be properly classified as exempt or nonexempt

A change in the FLSA salary threshold for "white-collar exemptions" (executive, administrative, and professional exemptions) goes into effect on January 1. In 2020, the minimum salary needed for exempt status under the FLSA will increase from $455/week to $684/week, or $35,568/year for a 40-hour, 12-month employee. (This threshold is not prorated for those who work fewer than 40 hours/week.) Some of your staff who currently meet the exemption criteria may need to be reclassified as nonexempt; this has important payroll and recordkeeping implications. Keep in mind that to qualify for any of these exemptions, certain duties tests must also be met. 

There is also a ministerial exception to the FLSA, which applies to ministers and staff who have "essential religious duties." This exception falls outside of the FLSA, so no salary threshold applies – it is based only on responsibilities.

Our UUA Fair Labor Standards Act resource page includes a detailed FAQ document about exemptions and recordkeeping, as well as a Compliance Guide that walks you through a process of assessing compliance and making necessary adjustments. 

Important Reminders 

  • The executive, administrative, and professional exemptions are based on not only salary but also duties. An employee who earns at least $684/week is not automatically exempt; they must also meet the duties tests for a particular exemption, as outlined in our FLSA FAQ. 
  • As an employer, you must keep records of daily and weekly hours worked for every nonexempt employee.

For more information contact midamerica@uua.org.

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