I hear often that folks in student affairs (and education, and social work, and nonprofits…) say “Well, I don’t do this for the money!”
That’s rather a sad reflection of our society, that we accept how society devalues the contributions we make in society. It is a reality, yes. But I think the Obama Administration’s implemented changes to support fair salaries is the perfect time for us to speak more openly.
The U.S. Department of Labor initiated a new rule for the Fair Labor & Standards Act (FLSA) named the “Overtime Final Rule” (OFR) to raise the salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476 for the exempt employee classification. It was supposed to start today, December 1st. Instead, a federal judge in Texas granted an injunction and the FLSA OFR has been paused. Indeed, with an incoming Trump administration it may end before it began.
Many folks in student affairs, online and offline, have been reporting mixed responses by their institutions. Some are positive, some are neutral, and some are rather unethical.
With that, I ask that full-time professionals in higher education (student affairs and related areas like enrollment management) to take time to complete a survey. All data will be shared in hopes of providing employees with a more full picture of how institutions are responding to FLSA changes and better preparing employees on how to advocate for themselves and others in the workplace.
Please note: There are many optional questions so you can anonymize yourself quite a bit if you worry about a response getting tracked back to you. There are open-ended questions, so it is up to you to on how much detail you want to provide.
An overview is provided at the top of the survey; but I have also copied it below:
Higher Education/Student Affairs Report Form for FLSA Changes
The U.S. Department of Labor initiated a new rule for the Fair Labor & Standards Act (FLSA) named the “Overtime Final Rule” (OFR) to raise the salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476 for the exempt employee classification. Full-time employees working 40 or more hours per week and paid less than $47,476 would have to be paid overtime or granted comp time. Institutions of higher education have worked over the last few months to either raise salary levels to the new threshold change an employee’s status – often to clock in and out daily.
December 1st was when the new Overtime Final Rule (OFR) was meant to take effect. However, on November 22nd U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant granted an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction and thereby enjoined the Department of Labor from implementing and enforcing the OFR on December 1, 2016.
Institutions of higher education, as well as all businesses, no longer have to implement the OFR – for now. This is a delay and does not equate that OFR will never occur, although there is that possibility with a new administration in January.
Already I have seen student affairs professionals post on Facebook that their institutions are halting the changes – some have chosen to renege on salary changes. There are also many different ways that institutions have chosen to accommodate the OFR – some which benefit both institution and employee or some that benefit only the institution.
Therefore, in the intention of enhancing worker’s rights within the field of higher education and student affairs, I have constructed this survey. Data will be shared publicly. Professionals can utilize the data to better advocate for their needs, resources, and work/life balance.
Survey Respondent Criteria:
1. Work at an institution of higher education in student affairs or related administrative areas (such as enrollment management).
2. Work full-time.
1. Purpose: Gather data on FLSA changes in higher education so that employees can share about their respective changes and learn how FLSA changes are being processed at other institutions. Currently, there is no comprehensive collection of data on FLSA changes at universities, so I hope this fills a data gap.This data is intended to help employees advocate for themselves in the workplace. This survey seeks information on the employee and the institution in order to provide fair comparison as needed. Questions can be directed to Niki Messmore at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Information submitted will be public and unedited. Please anonymize yourself (and there are options to name your institution or just use your institution classification) as we want to minimize backlash that someone could experience. There are many identifying options that you can skip in order to feel more comfortable sharing information.
3. You may add as much personalized information as you like; questions that could more easily identify respondents have been made optional.
Survey Results Publication:
A summary will be posted on my blog, Dances with Dissonance. The raw data will be uploaded onto a public GoogleDoc excel spreadsheet.
1. I have written about FLSA changes before and include resources at the end of my blog post if you would like to read more about the new overtime rule:
2. Direct updates on the new FLSA Overtime rule are posted by the Department of Labor
My name is Niki Messmore and I am undertaking this survey because I feel strongly that professionals should share openly about salary and benefits in order to better advocate for themselves, others, and their institutions. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Bowling Green State University in 2007 and proceeded to work in both higher education and nonprofits for 5 years. Following this, I earned my master’s degree in Higher Education & Student Affairs from Indiana University in 2014. For the past two years I have worked as the Coordinator for Civic Engagement at an urban 4-year institution in Indiana.