Professional Staff, Career Staff Designations a Thing of the Past; Learn More About FLSA Changes at a Total Rewards Forum

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A Message from Amy Bosley, Vice President of Organizational Development and Human Resources

Today, I will host the first of 15 open forums — Total Rewards Meetings — to share changes in our staff salary system and policies in response to new Department of Labor (DOL) Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations. The new regulations, passed earlier this summer, significantly change the salary threshold required for exempt positions, and Valencia is required to comply (as are most other U.S. employers).

The purpose of this message is to communicate a broad overview of the changes that will be proposed to the District Board of Trustees at their Wednesday, November 2, 2016, meeting and to encourage you to attend one of the Total Rewards Meetings at a time and location most convenient for you. These changes do not impact faculty (more information on why below).

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act and what about it changed?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments. This law primarily impacts the College in terms of establishing guidelines by which positions are determined to be exempt from overtime.

The FLSA requires that all positions be considered non-exempt (that is, required to record hours worked and eligible for overtime at time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in a seven-day work week) and provides a few narrow exemptions which can be applied to exempt certain employees from recording hours and earning overtime.

The major change in the new regulation is the salary test portion of the exemptions described above. Prior to the new regulations, the law required that employees in positions which qualified for an exemption be paid at least $23,660 per year. The law now requires that employers pay exempt employees at least $47,476.

The FLSA includes an exemption for teachers and does not require that a salary test be applied for bona fide teaching professionals. This means that the changes to Valencia policies and programs this fall will NOT impact faculty.

What is Valencia’s plan for compliance?

Our Organizational Development and Human Resources (ODHR) team has developed a comprehensive response to the new regulations, and the College will be in full compliance before the required Thursday, December 1, 2016, deadline. Our plan is based on the following principles:

  • All employees contribute to student success and should feel included and valued by the organization, leadership and colleagues.
  • We will maximize the changes required by the Department of Labor to reset our framework to enable our future.
  • We will design a salary system that is based in fairness and consistency with a focus on growth, labor market conditions and competition for key roles.
  • Valencia is and should remain a competitive employer in higher education and the Orlando job market.
  • Valencia will be fully compliant with the changes to the FLSA by Thursday, December 1, 2016 (as required by law).

We are taking this opportunity to push the reset button and realign a number of systems and programs that are in need of updating. Specifically, we are merging all three of our staff salary systems (career, professional and technical) into one new Valencia staff salary schedule.

It’s important to note that no one will have his or her base pay reduced as a part of this transition. It’s also important to note that every position will be assigned to a new pay grade based on the essential functions of the job, grouping like jobs with similar levels of responsibility, scope, breadth, etc. Finally, there will be a greater range of positions that are deemed non-exempt.

While all staff will be impacted by the new salary schedule and policy changes, fewer than 150 individuals will have a change in exemption status and will move from an exempt to a non-exempt position effective the end of November, in which they will record time and be eligible for overtime. Those affected by the exemption change will receive notification from their leadership team with a confirmation email from the Total Rewards team with the new position information.

In addition to a new staff salary system, is anything else changing?

In changing to a one staff salary schedule, many systems, policies and programs will be impacted. Specifically, changes to the following will be discussed at the upcoming forums:

  • Overtime processing
  • Contracts
  • Recognition for advanced degrees earned
  • Career and professional staff designations, associations and governance representation

In order to affect these changes, we will be updating, combining and repealing a number of policies. In fact, 26 policies are involved in this comprehensive change. In the coming weeks, we will feature one or two of the policies that are changing in The Juice. In each post, we will share the old policy, the new version, an explanation of why the change is occurring and provide an opportunity to share your feedback. In addition, all of the policies will be reviewed through the regularly established Faculty Council policy review process.

What’s next?

Please plan to attend a Total Rewards Meeting to learn more, ask questions and provide feedback. The open forums will be held multiple times throughout the month of September on every campus. The final compliance plan and the associated policies, procedures and a new staff salary schedule will be presented to the District Board of Trustees in November.

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Stay tuned to The Juice for more information on policies, program changes, etc. as we finalize our compliance plan and prepare to implement changes in early November. And as always, please feel free to share your thoughts, concerns and ideas directly with me at abosley@valenciacollege.edu or extension 8255 — or with a member of our Organizational Development and Human Resources team.

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