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Division of Human Resources

Timekeeping Procedures

  •  Employees who work 37.5 hours a week actually get paid for 40 hours, therefore overtime pay or compensatory time does not start until employees have actually worked over 40 hours. 
  • Breaks, even for a meal, are not required by the law. However, brief 5 to 15 minute breaks that are allowed by the supervisor count as time worked. 
  • If a break or meal period is allowed for 30 minutes or more, and the employee does not do any work during that time, it does not count as time worked, even if the employee stays on the premises.
  • If a non-exempt employee is engaged in business travel that includes an overnight stay, only those hours that coincide with the employee’s regular work hours (excluding meal time) will be compensable for purposes of determining overtime. If the overnight stay includes a non-regularly scheduled workday, the time spent in travel during what would normally be considered the employee’s regular work hours will be compensable.
  • If a non-exempt employee is required to attend training, lectures, meetings, etc., the time is considered hours worked.
  • Other activities such as changing clothes or sleeping may be counted as time worked. Review this chart [pdf] to learn more.
  • To reduce overtime pay, supervisors can adjust an employee’s schedule within the same workweek so that no more than 40 hours is worked. Supervisors can not require employees to work and not report the work hours. Some call this "working off the clock" and it is against the law.

Hours worked includes all time an employee is required to be on duty or on the university’s premises or at a prescribed work place for the university, and all time during which the employee worked or is permitted to work for the university.

Some employees and supervisors incorrectly record 7.5 hours per day, regardless of the actual hours worked. Using the Time and Absence System, you must enter the actual hours worked and the leave taken. If an employee actually worked 10 hours you must record 10 hours. Or if an employee actually worked 4 hours and took 3.5 hours of leave, then 4 hours worked and 3.5 hours of leave must be recorded. For step-by-step instructions on how to enter time into the university’s time management system, please visit the Payroll Office website.  

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, often called the Overtime Law, describes the types of jobs that are exempt (not eligible for overtime) and non-exempt (eligible for overtime).

Non-exempt jobs are eligible for overtime, therefore employees must report all hours actually worked. Overtime pay or compensatory time [pdf] is given to employees whose actual work exceeds 40 hours in a week. Employees must receive approval from the authorized supervisor prior to working overtime or they may be subject to disciplinary action.

Overtime pay is 1.5 times the regular hourly rate. Compensatory time is earned at 1.5 hours for each hour worked over 40. Leave time taken does not count as time worked when calculating overtime.

Exempt jobs are not eligible for overtime, therefore employees only need to report leave taken on a semi-monthly basis.  

If you are not sure if a job is considered exempt or non-exempt, review these requirements for exemption status.

A workweek is 7 consecutive 24 hour periods. USC’s workweek begins at 12:01 a.m. Sunday and ends at midnight the following Saturday. Each workweek stands by itself in determining overtime compensation for non-exempt employees. Law Enforcement employees may work a variable schedule 28-day work period (171 hours) that begins at 12:01 am Sunday and ends 28 days later at midnight.

While the official university workweek for full-time employees is 37.5 hours, employees shall not receive additional compensation or compensatory time for hours worked between 37.5 and 40 per workweek. Any employee may be required to work up to 40 hours per workweek without additional compensation or compensatory time.

Please refer to our Minimum Wage, Official Workweek and Overtime Compensation Policy [pdf] for additional information.

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