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Index > Operations Policies > Exempt and Non-Exempt Pay Policy

Exempt and Non-Exempt Pay Policy


All positions at Rhode Island School of Design, including student employees, are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Rhode Island labor laws. The FLSA is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, and record keeping requirements. It also specifies the narrowly defined and limited exceptions which are used to determine if a position is exempt from overtime pay provisions. Human Resources determines whether non-student positions are exempt (salaried) or non-exempt (hourly) based on FLSA criteria.

The FLSA requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a work week, unless the position is determined to be exempt.RI state law also contains provisions relating to overtime, minimum wage and wage payments.


Exempt (Salaried)

To determine whether a job is exempt (not subject to overtime and minimum wage provisions) or non-exempt, the position must meet certain test requirements as established by the Department of Labor regarding job duties and must be paid on a salary basis of not less than the minimum salary threshold established by the Department of Labor (“DoL”). Job titles by themselves do not determine exempt status. In order for an exemption to apply, both an employee’s specific job duties and their salary must meet all the requirements of the DoL’s regulations.

The five primary categories of potentially exempt employees are for those employed as bonafide executive, administrative, professional, certain computer, and outside sales employees. In addition, teachers can be considered exempt if their primary duty is teaching.

Exempt employees routinely receive their full salary for any week in which they perform any work, without regard to the number of days or hours worked. Deductions to pay must be made in full day increments. If exempt employees work any hours during a day, they must be paid for the full day, with few exceptions. Before reducing or docking an exempt employee’s salary, the manager must contact Human Resources for approval of the exception and to assist with its processing.

Recordkeeping for an exempt employee’s time away from work is maintained in Workday.

Non-Exempt (Hourly)

Employees are considered non-exempt when they earn less than the salary threshold or (even if they earn that or more) when they do not meet the duties requirements of any of the exemption tests.

Hourly employees must be paid on set pay dates for hours worked within the corresponding pay period. Hours may not be accrued to be used at a later time and wage payments may not be delayed for hourly employees.

All non-exempt employees who work in excess of 40 hours in a work week must be paid time and a half for time worked in excess of 40 hours in a 7-day work week.

RISD’s 7-day work week for calculating overtime runs from Saturday beginning at 12:01am through Friday at midnight.

When calculating hours worked for overtime pay, the following are treated as time worked (employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement should refer to their contract):

  • Paid holidays
  • Bereavement days
  • Jury duty
  • Military Leave
  • Personal days
  • Vacation days

Sick time, whether standard sick time or Workers Compensation time, is not counted as hours worked for overtime purposes.

Overtime is calculated for the following respective work schedules:

  • Employees working in non-exempt positions with a normal schedule of 35 hours per week will be paid straight time for hours worked between 35 and 40 hours and time and a half for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours.
  • Employees working in non-exempt positions with a normal schedule of 40 hours per week will be paid time and a half for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours.
  • Part-time employees working in non-exempt positions are paid at their regular rates of pay for hours worked up to 40 hours and then at time and a half for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours.

All overtime hours must be approved in advance by the supervisor and employees may not work hours beyond their scheduled hours without prior permission from their supervisor. Each supervisor is responsible for assessing the need for overtime. Supervisors will attempt to accommodate within reason employees who, for personal reasons, have difficulty complying with an overtime request. Accommodation is subject to the minimum operating requirements of the department.

Compensatory Time Off for Employees in Non-Exempt Positions

Compensatory time off in lieu of pay for overtime is not permitted under RI state law. Schedule changes may be made in lieu of overtime pay only if it can be accomplished within the same work week, not the same payroll period. Under no circumstances may such compensatory schedule changes be carried forward into the next work week.

Employees Holding Multiple Positions

Please check back for updates to the policy in this section.

Sunday Pay for Employees in Non-Exempt Positions

As a higher educational institution, RISD provides certain services such as housing, food service and public safety 24 hours per day and seven days a week. As such, employees are paid their regular hourly rates when working on Sunday.

Lunch Periods

There is a daily, unpaid meal period scheduled by the supervisor and/or determined by the needs of that office or department. Meal periods are staggered to provide continuous coverage in offices that need to remain open throughout the day. Meal periods are typically either one-half hour or one hour, depending on normal work week schedules. By Rhode Island law, a non-exempt employee is entitled to a minimum of a 20-minute unpaid meal time when working a shift of 6 or more hours, and a 30-minute unpaid meal time when working a shift of 8 or more hours.

Pay for Seminars, Training, and Travel for Employees in Non-Exempt Positions

Employees are not compensated for commuting to and from their standard work location, as such time is not normally considered time worked.

Seminars and training sessions required by RISD are counted as time worked and, as such, are subject to the FLSA requirements. Travel time to and from the training/seminar location, when it is different from the employee’s standard work location, is considered work time, less the time it would normally take the employee to travel to work at their standard location. During the actual training/seminar, only scheduled seminar hours are compensable; meals, breaks, and study time are not.

When a non-exempt employee must travel overnight in connection with their job, travel time as a passenger is not considered compensable unless one works during travel. Travel time is also compensable when the travel hours cut across the employee’s regular scheduled work hours.

New employees who attend RISD orientation prior to their start date must be paid for attending.

On-Call Pay for Employees in Non-Exempt Positions

A non-exempt employee who, after completing their regularly scheduled workday, is called back by a supervisor for emergency work after leaving the premises is paid at time and a half of the hourly rate for any hours worked on a call-back basis. A minimum of four hours at a rate of time and a half must be paid for any call-back.

The following rules apply to On-Call Pay for Employees in Non-Exempt Positions:

  • When a non-exempt employee is on-call and is required to remain on RISD’s premises, they are considered to be working and must be compensated.
  • If a non-exempt employee is not required to remain on RISD’s premises, but must carry a cell phone or is required to provide contact information, they are not considered to be working unless and until called in.
  • If an employee is called in to work, they must be paid for a minimum of four hours or the actual hours worked, whichever is greater.
  • In instances when an employee’s presence is not required and a phone call suffices, an employee is paid for the length of the phone call.

Rest or Break Periods

It is general practice for RISD to allow two 15-minute, on-campus, rest or break periods (usually mid-morning and mid-afternoon) in the course of a work day, if work permits. Rest periods are paid time and are scheduled by the supervisor in accordance with the needs of each department or office. Time allowed for rest and break periods is neither cumulative nor compensatory. Other than during luncheon periods, employees are requested not to leave campus unless it is in conjunction with a work assignment. If the need arises for an employee to be away from the premises, the supervisor should be consulted before the employee leaves campus.



Exempt employees are required to maintain accurate records of time away from work including but not limited to vacation, sick and personal time. Exception time (vacation, sick and personal time) will be requested and maintained in Workday. Non-exempt employees are expected to maintain accurate records of all time worked. Employees maintaining time records in Workday must enter their time on a weekly basis, but are strongly encouraged to do so on a daily basis to ensure their time is accurately captured. Falsification of college records, including time and attendance records, is considered serious in nature and could result in disciplinary action.

For additional information, please visit:

Holiday Pay

Nursing Time

Weather Closing and Pay Policy

Labor Relations

Revision history

This policy was created on: 4/1/2019

Annually on the following date or as required by law: 4/1/2022


Issuing Office

Human Resources

Responsible Officer

Vice President for Human Resources

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Director of Employment

Office of the General Counsel