Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include Massachusetts staff employees only. All provisions of this policy apply, except that for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, this policy does not create any benefits not expressly provided by that collective bargaining agreement and if there are inconsistencies between this policy and the collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern.

Emerson College classifies all employee positions as eligible for overtime (non-exempt) or ineligible for overtime (exempt), in compliance with applicable law.  This policy describes exempt and non-exempt staff employees, overtime provisions, minimum wage, hours of operation, and meal breaks as applicable.  While this policy is not intended for faculty, the College classifies faculty as exempt in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Policy Guidelines


The policy applies to all staff employees.

Exempt and Non-Exempt Status

All positions are classified as either exempt or non-exempt in accordance with criteria outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  

Exempt Staff Employees

Exempt staff employees are salaried, meaning they receive a predetermined amount of compensation each pay period (twice per month) regardless of variations in their work time, work quality or work quantity. Given the nature of these positions, exempt employees may be required to perform work outside standard hours of operation and are not limited in the number of hours they work in order to fulfill their duties.

Exempt staff employees are not eligible for overtime (they are “exempt” from overtime).  
Exempt staff employees may not receive compensatory time, that is, time off with pay to make up for an unusually heavy workload during a particular period.

Non-Exempt Staff Employees, Hours of Work and Overtime

Hours of Work and Payroll Week

Non-exempt staff employees receive an hourly rate and are eligible for overtime pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.  Non-exempt staff employees are paid weekly.

Non-exempt staff employees must be paid for all hours they actually work in a workweek and may not receive compensatory time.  

At the College, the regular work week for most full-time non-exempt staff employees is 36.25 hours Monday through Friday. However, some departments work a 40-hour workweek.  In addition, some non-exempt staff employee schedules may include evenings, nights, and/or weekend work. Hiring supervisors or HR will inform non-exempt staff employees of their required hours at the time of hire or as the College’s needs change. Supervisors will endeavor to inform non-exempt staff employees in advance of any changes to their regular work schedules and will strive to provide reasonable notice.


In compliance with the law, non-exempt staff employees are paid their regular hourly rate for all hours worked up to 40 hours in a workweek and one and one-half (1.5) times their regular rate for each hour worked after 40 hours in a workweek.  

In order to keep non-exempt staff employees’ total hours worked to 36.25 or 40, as applicable, supervisors may provide time off during that workweek when it appears that staff employees may exceed 36.25 or 40 hours of work in a workweek.   

Non-exempt staff employees may not work overtime without their managers’ prior authorization. Failure to receive authorization may result in formal Corrective Action.

Overtime is calculated on the number of hours worked in a workweek. Sick time, personal time, vacation time, holiday pay or other paid time off are not included when calculating overtime pay.

Meal Breaks

Non-exempt staff employees are required to utilize their scheduled sixty-(60) minute unpaid meal break if they are scheduled to work six hours or more in a shift. Departments are responsible for determining the time of staff employees’ meal breaks. Non-exempt staff employees may not shorten their workday by forgoing the meal break. However, in appropriate circumstances, non-exempt staff employees and their managers may work with Human Resources on flexible work arrangements.

Time Reporting

Staff employees are expected to accurately report their hours of work each workweek. Staff employees who fail to accurately report their time, or who falsely over or under-report their hours of work, will be subject to Corrective Action.

Other Information

Related Policies

Key Offices to Contact

Please contact Human Resources for further information regarding this policy and its implementation.

Links to Procedures or Forms

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

The contents of this policy are informational only and are not conditions of employment. This policy does not create any contractual obligations or alter the at-will employment of the College’s at-will employees. Emerson College reserves the right to modify, revoke, suspend, terminate or change any and all policies and procedures at any time, with or without notice, as consistent with state and federal law.