FLSA Academic Appointment Guidelines - June 13, 2016

Dear Colleagues, 

      As you may have heard, the U.S. Department of Labor issued new rules on May 18, 2016 governing minimum salary thresholds and overtime pay for employees across the country.  These changes will impact the University as well as most employers in the United States. 

      Faculty are generally exempt from these regulations, but officers of research who are currently anticipated to earn less than $47,476 annually as of December 1, 2016 will be impacted by them.  Staff from the Office of the Provost, General Counsel, Finance, Research Administration, and Human Resources are currently working to develop policies that will enable the University to remain in compliance with all wage and hour laws, including the new regulations. 

      Since the reappointment process for academic personnel is now underway, the following guidelines should be used when appointing or reappointing full-time officers of research for the coming year.  Procedures for part-time officers of research will be distributed separately.           

      As of December 1, 2016 all full–time officers of research must earn $47,476 annually.  Based on the current Salary Guidelines for Full-Time Officers of Research which my office issued on March 31, 2016, the minimum salaries for professional officers of research and senior staff associates are above the federally mandated minimum so no action needs to be taken for this population.  However, the salaries of all full-time postdoctoral research scientists, postdoctoral research scholars, and staff associates which are currently below that level must be raised to an annual rate of $47,476 by December 1, 2016.  This can be accomplished in one of the following ways: 

      For officers of research who need to be reappointed on or after July 1, 2016 but before December 1, 2016:  

            •     If funding is available, you can appoint them 7/1/16-6/30/17 or for a full year depending on their renewal date at an annual rate of $47,476, the federally established minimum.  In the alternative, such officers of research may be appointed at the current minimum salaries for the rank if there is also a provision in their reappointment letter that on or before December 1, 2016 the salary will be increased to the federally mandated minimum (equivalent to at least $913 per week for the remainder of the appointment term). 

            •     If funding cannot be immediately identified to raise them to the new minimum, you can appoint them through November 30, 2016 with the understanding that if funding cannot be allocated,  the impacted officer of research must receive a letter of nonrenewal by August 31, 2016 with the notification that their appointment will not be extended beyond November 30, 2016.  **Please note that this not a preferred option and should only be used in circumstances of last resort – since understandably it will create morale issues, may impact the sustainability of work on certain grants and will send a message to impacted individuals that it is likely that they will not have a position beyond November 30, 2016. 

            •     Any officer of research who is appointed beyond November 30, 2016 with an annual salary below $47,476 cannot be terminated without proper notice of nonrenewal.  If on December 1, 2016 any researchers have an annual salary below $47,476, they must be placed on a leave for lapse of funding without salary through their current appointment end date and the school, department, institute, or center will be responsible for paying for participation in the University’s medical, life insurance, and long-term disability plans until the end of the stated term of appointment. 

      All new full-time postdoctoral research scientists, postdoctoral research scholars, and staff associates appointed after July 1, 2016 should be appointed with a salary of at least $47,476.  Such officers of research may be appointed at the current minimum salaries for the rank if there is also a provision in the reappointment letter that on or before December 1, 2016 the salary will be increased to the federally mandated minimum.     

      Special attention needs to be given to officers of research whose appointments started before July 1, 2016 and will end after November 30, 2016.  According to the new rules issued by the Department of Labor on May 18, 2016 these people must receive an annual salary of at least $47,476 effective December 1, 2016.  Therefore, their salaries will need to increase effective December 1, 2016 until the end of their current appointment.  Future reappointments will depend on the availability of funding.  If their annual salary cannot be raised to the federally mandated minimum by December 1, they must receive a letter of nonrenewal by August 31, 2016 and be terminated on November 30, 2016. 

      All officers of research whose appointments are being changed to comply with federal regulations, either because their salary is being raised to $47,476 or because their appointments are being terminated on November 30, 2016 due to lack of funding, must receive a revised appointment letter. (See attached sample letters.)  A copy of the letter signed by the officer of research will need to accompany the PAF adjusting the salary or terminating the appointment.      

      For questions about sponsored project budget allocation, please contact your Sponsored Projects Administration project officer.  For information about appointments, on the Morningside campus please contact Pearl Spiro, Associate Provost for Academic Appointments, and at CUMC please call April Armstrong Studivant, Director of the CUMC Office of Faculty Affairs, or Anne Taylor, Senior Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs and Career Development at CUMC.  For legal questions relating to the U.S. Department of Labor guidelines, please contact Jessica Fenton, Associate General Counsel, or Donna Fenn, Associate General Counsel.

 

Sincerely, 

John H. Coatsworth

Provost 

 

Jane E. Booth

General Counsel 

 

G. Michael Purdy

Executive Vice President for Research 



SALARY REVISION LETTER 

 

Dear Dr./Mr./Ms. _____________________:

 

      This indicates a revision of the salary noted in my letter of <date>. 

      I am pleased to inform you of your appointment as <title> in <department, school, institute, center> (full-time) from <date> to <date>.  During that period, your salary, which is contingent upon the availability of funding, will be $xx,xxx.  

                       

APPOINTMENT REVISION LETTER

 

Dear Dr./Mr./Ms. _____________________: 

 

      This indicates a revision of the appointment noted in my letter of <date>. 

      I am pleased to inform you of your appointment as <title> in <department, school, institute, center> (full-time) from <date> to <date>.  During that period, your salary, which is contingent upon the availability of funding, will be $xx,xxx. 

 

LETTER OF NONRENEWAL

 

Dear Dr./Mr./Ms. _____________________:

 

      I must regretfully inform you that your appointment as <title> in <department, school, institute, center> will not be renewed after November 30, 2016. 

            I deeply appreciate the skill and care with which you have served the department, school, institute, center>.  You have my best wishes and those of the <department, school, institute, center> on your future career.