On Monday, July 16, Associate Vice President for Human Resources Polly Price and Vice President and General Counsel Anne Taylor released a statement to the University Community concerning the reclassification of certain jobs in beginning administrative and professional grades that would make the positions eligible for overtime pay. The statement explains why the reclassification is necessary under the Fair Labor Standards Act and expresses appreciation for the thoughtfulness and hard work of human resources directors, managers, and other employees across the University’s Schools and units in bringing the University’s diverse and complex range of work responsibilities into alignment with external legal requirements. The statement, which human resources officers across the University were encouraged to share broadly within their Schools and departments, is reprinted in full below. Individual employees who have questions about reclassification should contact their HR representative for further information.
Statement to University Community regarding job reclassification from Polly Price, Associate Vice President for Human Resources, and Anne Taylor, Vice President and General Counsel
Monday, July 16, 2001
As many of you know, beginning in Spring of 2000 the Office of Human Resources, working with the Office of the General Counsel, has conducted a year-long review of Harvard’s practices with regard to the classification of jobs under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As part of the University’s overall compliance efforts, we have, with the assistance of an outside consulting firm, examined hundreds of jobs in beginning administrative and professional grades to determine whether the employees who hold those jobs should be eligible for overtime pay.
The FLSA is a federal law passed in 1938 that sets out guidelines on a number of wage-related issues, including minimum wage levels, child labor, record keeping, and overtime pay. Positions that qualify for overtime pay are called “non-exempt” because they are not exempt from the overtime provisions of the Act. Positions that do not qualify for overtime pay are called “exempt.” The law sets out specific tests to determine the correct classification for a job. These tests apply to virtually all employers, and the tests do not focus on the qualifications of the individuals holding the job – they are based on the specific duties required.
Our review of job classifications has been conducted in partnership with human resources officers across the University’s Schools and units. Hundreds of employees and their managers have been interviewed, and every effort has been made to ensure that job classifications are based on accurate descriptions of the work performed. As a result of this process, a number of jobs throughout the University will be reclassified beginning this week, though analysis for a few job categories will not be completed until later in the summer.
Local human resources officers will be available to meet in person with any employee whose job is being reclassified from exempt to non-exempt. Such employees will retain their current titles, duties, salaries, and benefits, but they will be eligible for overtime pay at one and a half times their regular rate of pay when they work more than forty hours in a workweek. Alternatively, current employees in jobs that are reclassified may choose to join the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (and be covered by union-negotiated benefits) if their jobs are included in the existing HUCTW agreement. In addition, they may be eligible for back pay to cover overtime worked during the past two years.
All of you who work at Harvard University contribute in important ways to the achievement of our mission. We greatly appreciate the thoughtfulness with which managers and employees throughout the University have approached the difficult task of bringing our diverse and complex range of work responsibilities into alignment with external legal requirements. And we will continue to work closely with Schools and units to ensure that individuals affected by these requirements are treated with sensitivity, equity, and respect as this process moves forward.