Overtime Procedure and Authorization

What is Overtime?

Established by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), overtime requirements were designed after the Depression (1938) as a means of encouraging economic recovery. Specifically it created a monetary penalty for employers who did not spread their existing work among a greater number of employees. Overtime pay was intended as an incentive to employers to hire more people, rather than increasing the hours worked. This FLSA provision is still required of all employers with penalties enforced through the Department of Labor (DOL).


Who is eligible for Overtime pay?

Within the FLSA an important distinction is drawn between employees covered by the Overtime provision, non-exempt, and those not covered, exempt, as applies to their occupations.

Non-Exempt Status: Support positions both administrative and technical covered by provisions of the law are non-exempt from overtime requirements and are eligible to receive overtime pay. At the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), this includes all Bi-Weekly Support Staff whether regular or hourly payroll. 

Exempt Status: Executives, Professionals and Administrators can be excluded from provisions of the law, are exempt from overtime requirements and not eligible to receive overtime pay. At LDEO, this includes Officers of Research, Administration and Graduate Research Assistants.


Calculating Overtime Pay

The FLSA requires eligible employees to be paid time and one half for all hours worked over 40 in any one scheduled work week. At LDEO and the rest of the University the scheduled work week is Monday through Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., excepting one hour for lunch. While the University's scheduled work week is 35 hours, FLSA overtime pay does not apply until 40 hours. Under the special rules provision of the University policy on overtime, differences may occur for those employees funded by grants and contracts. LDEO therefore pays straight time for hours worked between 35 and 40 and time and one half for those hours worked over 40.


Overtime at LDEO

Overtime is not permitted at LDEO without supervisory approval. 


Exceptional Overtime Authorization at LDEO

Under exceptional, urgent or unique circumstances overtime may be assigned. All overtime assignments must be pre-approved by the appropriate supervisor. Observatory policy further requires pre-approval and authorization of overtime assignments by the appropriate Associate Director or the Director of Administration. Supervisors will be required to detail the amount of overtime being assigned and the reason for assignment when requesting authorization. If overtime is worked where pre-authorization cannot take place, the Associate Director or Director of Administration must examine and/or review with supervisors submitted time sheets, in order to authorize payment after the fact.


Compensatory Time Off in Lieu of Overtime Pay

Compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay is allowable provided it is taken within the same pay period that the overtime is worked. It is taken at time and one half if worked over 40 and straight time between 35 and 40.


Time sheets for Overtime Compensation

Compensation for work beyond 35 hours must be submitted through authorized time sheets. These may be obtained in the Human Resources Office. The Human Resources staff will calculate the amount of additional compensation and provide information on scheduled payroll deadlines.