Advice from former Superintendent of HR Mark Frost
By Dec. 1, all employers must comply with the updated Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which exempts teachers from new compensation rules, but requires school- or district-level action to ensure other employees are compensated in compliance with the rule or properly documented as exempt.
For education leaders that still need help understanding FLSA and what they should do to ensure compliance, Mark Frost, regional strategic advisor at PeopleAdmin and former superintendent of HR at Park Hill School District in Greater Kansas City, revealed “three crucial steps that all schools and districts should take in the final days leading up to the deadline … if they haven’t done so already.”
1. Determine each employee’s exemption status
Before you do anything else, it’s important to know which of your employees will lose exemption status under the new rules. This starts with a salary review to see which employees fall between the current salary threshold of $455 per week and the upcoming threshold of $913.
“I would print out a list or a roster of all employees in the school district and then take a look at how much they’re being paid,” Mark said. “We would want it sorted by their rate of pay and their salary.”
Additionally, you should review job descriptions. Though no change occurred to the duties test, it is possible that employees were previously misclassified … and the updates to FLSA will likely increase the risk of audits.
“This is a great opportunity for schools and districts to review job descriptions,” Mark said. “They may have an employee group that would meet the exemption status, but, for some reason, they were classified as nonexempt.”
2. Communicate with staff
After you determine which staff members will be affected by the updated regulations, you should reach out to them to prevent frustration with the change.
“There needs to be communication with employees. I think, oftentimes, it isn’t so much that employees are really concerned about the reclassification — it’s that they don’t understand why it’s happening,” Mark said. “So, I think having open and honest communication is important.”
3. Train affected employees
Finally, to properly comply with the updated regulations, you must train your employees to handle any role changes that the law will require.
“Plans should be initiated to ensure that employees are trained on how to correctly track and report time, and the payroll team is prepared to accurately implement payroll procedures,” Mark said.