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Q&A: Why We Recommend Using the FLSA Reclassification Letter

Question:

I’m trying to think of the easiest way to deal with the new overtime rules. We have employees working in many locations, so I was thinking I could just send a company-wide email telling ALL employees that their overtime needs to be pre-approved. This way those who end up getting reclassified are aware of the rules (and everyone else gets a good reminder). Does this seem like an okay approach to getting the word out?

Answer: Monica, SPHR, SHRM-CP, one of our HR Pros says…

I would advise against this approach. If you were to simply send out an email to all employees reminding them of the company’s overtime policy, it’s very likely that employees currently classified as exempt would completely disregard the email.

Instead, I strongly recommend issuing an FLSA Reclassification letter to each employee who will be reclassified. The letter should be issued before employees are changed from exempt to non-exempt; we recommend at least one pay period of advance notice. The letter should inform employees of the federal rule changes and details about their new pay structure and rate of pay. We have a sample letter available on the HR Support Center under Documents – Letters – Wage & Hour.

In addition to providing information about their classification change, you should also ensure employees have a copy of any policies that will be applicable to them now that they are non-exempt. Likely candidates include overtime (as you are aware!), off-the-clock work prohibitions, timekeeping requirements, meal and rest break rules, and any policy you’d like to enforce regarding their use of personal electronic devices for work. If employees are seeing these for the first time, make sure you get a signed acknowledgment. If these are already in your employee handbook, give your soon-to-be-reclassified employees time to reread it with their new classification in mind.

We have an assortment of sample policies in the Support Center, and other best practices for the upcoming FLSA changes can be found in two guides we’ve created: our FLSA Changes – Decision Making Guide and our FLSA Changes – Implementation Guide. Both guides are extremely helpful and can be found in the Support Center.

 

Monica has held roles as an HR Generalist and Payroll and Benefits manager at a large ski resort, providing HR guidance to more than 500 employees. She also has HR experience in the healthcare field and the non-profit world. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Linfield College.

Question:

What is the technical or otherwise common definition of an employee’s termination date? Is it the date the on which the termination occurs or the last date the employee performed work?

Answer from Monica, SPHR, SHRM-CP:

Typically, the termination date is the day that the actual termination occurred. It may or may not coincide with the final day of work, depending on the circumstances.

For example, many companies have a no-call, no-show provision in their attendance policy (e.g., three days of no-call, no-show will result in termination), after which an employee is terminated based on job abandonment. In such a scenario, the date of termination is after the third day of no-call, no-show, which does not coincide with the employee’s last day of work. Alternatively, the employer or employee may give advance notice, as is often the case when employees are simply moving on in their career or the employer is conducting a layoff. In that case, the termination date is the employee’s final day of work.

If an employee files for unemployment, the unemployment agency may request both the employee’s last date of work and the termination date. If this request isn’t made and the termination day and last work day are not the same, we still recommend providing both dates in response to the unemployment claim.

Monica, SPHR, SHRM-CP

Monica, SPHR, SHRM-CP

Monica has held roles as an HR Generalist and Payroll and Benefits manager at a large ski resort, providing HR guidance to more than 500 employees. She also has HR experience in the healthcare field and the non-profit world. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Linfield College.

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