Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Exemption Status and Pay Frequency



Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, and Administrative Officers


Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Exemption Status and Pay Frequency


Dear Colleagues:

Before UCLA transitions to UCPath in September, 2018, significant effort is required to ensure that all data in the current payroll system are accurate and fully compliant with current University policy and with plans for new UCPath processes. One area of focus in this effort is assessing the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption status and pay frequency of each position.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal statute governed by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Act establishes minimum wage requirements and is applicable to private sector as well as government employers, including the University of California. The FLSA also includes regulations that define what work qualifies as exempt versus non-exempt for purposes of determining overtime eligibility, and defines the conditions under which an individual is considered a student versus an employee.

Consistent with the FLSA and University policy, all academic, staff, and student employees should have a single FLSA status (exempt or non-exempt) and a single pay frequency (monthly or biweekly), even if they hold more than one appointment. This is especially critical for UCPath implementation.

The appropriate FLSA status is defined by federal law and any violations would place the University at significant risk for back pay, fines, and penalties. The applicable provisions of the FLSA are defined by two major factors:



The nature of the relationship with the organization – is the individual at the University as an employee or primarily a student; and



The nature of the preponderance of the work that the individual is performing for the organization – is the work exempt from the overtime provisions or is it non-exempt and thereby subject to overtime.


In the course of auditing data for conversion to UCPath, the Academic Personnel Office (APO), Campus Human Resources (CHR), and the Graduate Division have identified situations that require review. In situations where an individual holds multiple, concurrent appointments in academic, staff, academic apprentice and/or casual-restricted student titles, it is important to ensure that only one FLSA status is selected based on the predominant work being performed. Additionally, the total of all appointments should not exceed 100% time, unless temporary dual employment has been formally approved on an exception basis.

Individuals in student status are limited to appointments of no more than 50% except in very rare circumstances. This limitation is intended to support the student’s progress to degree and other academic success measures. Additionally, the status of “student” allows certain privileges and rights that are not afforded to regular employees of the University. For example, students are not required to pay FICA taxes, are given flexibility on work schedules, and have access to University-provided housing and other services that are not generally available to other employees.

For all of the reasons described above, Academic Personnel, Campus Human Resources, and the Graduate Division are issuing the following guidance to all organizational units and hiring managers:



Effective no later than July 1, 2018, all employees, including students and rehires, must have a single FLSA status and be paid on a single pay cycle. In cases where there are multiple appointments with more than one FLSA status, the hiring department must consult with the appropriate central office, e.g., Academic Personnel, Campus Human Resources, Healthcare Human Resources, or the Graduate Division, before the hiring action is finalized to arrive at a single FLSA status. Our offices have collaborated to create a decision-tree document that will assist hiring departments in determining the most appropriate FLSA status. Authority to change and assign FLSA status rests with these central offices.



The total combined percentage of all appointments for all UCLA students should not be more than 50% unless formal central office approval is documented. In the case of graduate students appointed as academic apprentice employees, the appointment percentage may not exceed 75% without the approval of the Vice Provost and Dean, Graduate Division. The approval authority is generally the central unit responsible for the primary role, e.g., Academic Personnel in the case of Lecturers and other academic appointees; and Campus HR or Healthcare HR in the case of staff and casual/restricted student appointments.

To assist all academic and staff hiring managers, EDB preparers, and the central office staffs, monitoring reports, procedures, and training will be made available in the coming weeks.

If you have specific questions about the policies or procedures, please contact the following individuals:

  • Esther Hamil, Academic Personnel Office, if any of the appointments are academic.
  • Linda Gaddie, Campus Human Resources, if the primary appointments are staff.
  • Ana Lebon, Graduate Division, if the primary appointments are graduate students in academic apprentice titles (i.e., ASE/GSR).

We appreciate your willingness to assist us in addressing this very important compliance issue.



Robin L. Garrell
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean, Graduate Division

Lubbe Levin
Associate Vice Chancellor
Campus Human Resources

Michael Levine
Vice Chancellor
Academic Personnel