Overtime: What Can NL’s Do?

Over 100 URA members, signed URA’s Public Comment on the Department of Labor’s Comment on the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Proposed Rule: Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees. AFTNJ colleagues, and some Facebook friends of URA1766, also joined. Here are some of the comments: 

  • It’s 2015…It’s important to adopt a minimum salary of $1,000 per week to be on par with the economy and the regions where most of us live and work.
  • The NL (EXEMPT) (EXEMPT) designation needs not only salary min/max limits, but also reasonable HOURS limits, e.g., “maximum X hours a week for no more than X weeks, after which the worker is entitled to compensation at X rate.” In the month of December, I worked 320 hours. The university was open 19 days. Do the math. For the last six+ years I have been repeatedly required to work holidays, weekends, and pull all nighters to meet the deadlines imposed on me at certain times of the year.
  • We need this badly. I need this badly. Currently, I’m considered NL and that means I’m expected to answer every afterhours business e-mail or call from someone in administration or even an applicant. Including working weekend events or generating data for reports on weekends or late night afterhours.  50k is still not enough. We need a better definition of exempt which will truly distinguish executives from first-level supervisors. We need a clear duties test, which would guarantee that we are only exempt when we are full-time managers –not co-workers with routine oversight, scheduling, or assignment duties. And we need to end no limit, with a remedy for 50, 60-, and 70 hour weeks.
  • We need new standards and regulations to address the inequities.
  • Though I am not an NL , I know many NLs who work consistent 12 hour days and weekends for sadly low salaries for their experience and education. This serves to make the employee feel overworked, unappreciated, and bleak at the prospect of a lifetime of under appreciated time and effort. It is no way to work and live.
  • Why should people not earn overtime pay if they are forced to work overtime hours?
  • Secretary, once you have increased the salary threshold, we urgently need to update the duties tests. Too many low-level administrators are deprived of protection because of vague phrases like “matters of significance”. We need a battery of benchmarks and examples to make these words meaningful. Likewise, true supervisory/managerial authority needs to be better defined. Hundreds of my union brothers and sisters at Rutgers University are affected by the ambiguous status of “administrative employees”.

In separate comments, one URA agency fee payer took a different view: “I don’t support this.  “NL” employees make more money and should work more hours.  They make $10K or better than me. I would never been given so much overtime at my position.. I don’t support this!!”

As the regulatory process goes forward, URA will continue to seek opportunities to extend overtime eligibility to additional members.

Members who are now exempt from overtime (NL in Rutgers-speak), should look closely at the provisions of Article 28. OVERTIME/COMPENSATORY TIME BENEFITS, under the section NL and N4 Employees, on page 14 of our new contract. This section provides:

…There may be occasions where an employee believes that he/she is working an excessive workload. In such cases, the employee shall do the following:

a. The employee shall request a meeting with his/her supervisor, which will be scheduled within five (5) work days of the request, to discuss the nature of the employee’s work and the time required for the employee’s duties. The employee shall present to the supervisor his/her rationale as to why the workload is considered excessive, along with any documentation the employee may wish to present, such as time records.

b. In cases where the supervisor concurs that the employee is working an excessive workload, the supervisor will address such a situation through one or more of the following actions:

      1. Eliminating, reducing or modifying the duties the employee is performing;
      2. Providing logistical assistance or adding additional personnel on either a temporary or permanent basis;
      3. Providing compensatory time off to the employee which is to be scheduled on a mutually acceptable basis;

c. The supervisor will provide his/her determination in writing, with a copy to the employee’s personnel file maintained at UHR, to the employee within five (5) work days of the meeting referenced in subsection “a.” above.

d. An employee who is dissatisfied with the decision of his/her supervisor may elect to meet with the next higher level of supervision to discuss the situation and to seek further relief. Should the matter not be resolved at this level, at the request of the union there shall be a meeting between two (2) URA-AFT representatives and two (2) UHR representatives in an attempt to come to a mutually acceptable resolution. The employee may attend at the discretion of the union. Other administration representatives may attend at the discretion of UHR. Any agreements reached at this meeting shall be reduced to writing.