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UGA: No Choice but to Change Pay Schedule

UGA administrators say they’re sympathetic to employees whose pay will be delayed in November as the university implements new federal overtime rules, but that they have no choice but to switch from a monthly to a biweekly pay schedule.

“I deeply care about our staff and want to make this transition as smoothly as we can,” President Jere Morehead said at his quarterly media briefing this morning.

Changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act that take effect Dec. 1 raise the salary threshold for workers who are eligible for overtime from $23,660 to $47,476. The changes mean that 3,100 UGA employees will now be eligible for overtime pay or comp time if they work more than 40 hours in a week.

But in implementing the new rules, UGA is withholding those employees’ pay for the second half of November until Dec. 9, when they will start to receive checks every two weeks instead of every month. Many affected employees are upset by the delay and because they’ll receive slightly less money 10 months out of the year—except for the two months when they’ll receive three checks—although monthly expenses will remain the same.

Although UGA has cast the changes as the result of the FLSA, Vice President for Finance and Administration Ryan Nesbit acknowledged that the FLSA does not prohibit paying employees monthly. The pay schedule changes are the result of a combination of state law and UGA and University System of Georgia policy, he told Flagpole.

State law requires that employees who are eligible for overtime must be paid at least twice a month, Nesbit said. When told that many affected employees would prefer bimonthly pay to biweekly pay, he said that USG and UGA policy is to pay employees who are eligible for overtime biweekly.

About 3,400 UGA employees are already paid biweekly, Nesbit said.

UGA will host forums for affected employees Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Georgia Center’s Mahler Auditorium to discuss the changes.

The university is also hosting management and budgeting seminars to help employees deal with the new pay schedule, Morehead said.

But administrators raised the possibility that the changes might be delayed or canceled if a federal lawsuit is successful. Tuesday, Georgia joined 20 other states that are suing to block the new overtime rule.