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Changing my employment from hourly to part time exempt. What say do I get? Texas

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  • Changing my employment from hourly to part time exempt. What say do I get? Texas

    Hi all,

    I work as a hospital chaplain. In the local church clergy are typically salaried exempt, whether full time or part time. However, in the hospital setting as a part time chaplain, I'm not sure what the legality is of making someone exempt. The other hospitals that I'm familiar with all have their part time chaplains paid hourly wages and they are not exempt, but I'm also not sure what the industry standard is for part time employment as a hospital chaplain.

    I have worked for this organization for 3 years now. I started out as full time, salaried, exempt. In June, I requested to change to part time for family reasons. In our department, that translated to part time, hourly and this was the agreement between my director and myself. The HR paperwork also reflected that I would be working approximately 24 hours/week and that I would be paid hourly at a set $/hr.

    My director informed me last month that she and HR are discussing making our part time staff (myself and 1 other chaplain) part time exempt instead of hourly. This would mean that our on call hours would essentially be unpaid. It also means that we would no longer receive shift differentials for working nights/weekends. My income would drop about $400/month if this change is made without adjusting my hourly wage before making me exempt.

    What if any negotiations do I have a right to legally in this discussion? How do I find out if I qualify to be ruled as exempt of not?

  • #2
    As far as your job duties go, if you qualified to be exempt as a full time employee, then you qualify to be exempt as a part time employee. There is nothing inherently illegal about having a part time employee who is also exempt if the job duties do not change.

    The telling point would be your salary level. By statute, if you make less than $455 per week you are automatically non-exempt. So if by going part time your salary goes below $455 per week, then you cannot legally be considered exempt. If you still are making $455 weekly or more, however, and your job duties did not change, then whether you are considered part time or full time is totally irrelevant to your exempt status.

    You are mistaken, however, that any part of your time would be unpaid. As an exempt employee, regardless of full time or part time, your salary covers all the hours you work, regardless of how many or how few.
    Last edited by cbg; 11-29-2010, 12:09 PM.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      I believe cbg meant so if by going part time your salary goes below $455 per week, then you cannot legally be considered exempt (not non exempt).
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        It's been that kind of a day....

        Yes, of course that's what I meant. Thank you, Betty, for picking up on that. I have made the correction. You'd think I'd be a little more awake by mid-morning.

        Time for another cup of coffee...
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

        Comment


        • #5
          We have all done that on occasion - I know I have. PS - I should have said I "know" instead of I
          "believe" cbg meant ......
          Last edited by Betty3; 11-29-2010, 10:20 AM.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

          Comment


          • #6
            I am missing something here. Does anyone know what the FLSA exception (if any) is for clergy is?
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DAW View Post
              I am missing something here. Does anyone know what the FLSA exception (if any) is for clergy is?
              Learned Professional maybe? Only one I can think of that is even possible under these circumstances.

              I would imagine that clergy in a church position could qualify either under the Executive or Administrative exemption.
              Last edited by Pattymd; 11-29-2010, 11:43 AM.
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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              • #8
                In post #2 I know cbg also meant (didn't notice it previously) by statute, if you make less than $455 per week (not hour)......
                Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                Comment


                • #9
                  At least in my church, clergy could easily fall under either the Executive or the Administrative exemption. Not sure how it would work in a hospital setting. Though around here, hospital chaplains are usually also attached to a church.
                  Last edited by cbg; 11-29-2010, 12:09 PM.
                  The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Betty3 View Post
                    In post #2 I know cbg also meant (didn't notice it previously) by statute, if you make less than $455 per week (not hour)......
                    cbg is just going to hang it up for the day.

                    (Patty will know what I mean when I say I am obviously channelling Brenda. For that matter, DAW and Betty might know too.)
                    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hopefully the rest of your day will go better.
                      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        2Mommy:

                        You might be Exempt. You might not be. "Exempt" is a function of a federal law called FLSA. All employees default to non-exempt, meaning that they must be paid at least (on average for each workweek) minimum wage and overtime (if applicable). To say that someone is Exempt is to say that they are exempt from minimum wage, overtime or both. There are something like 100 or exceptions to FLSA. Most of these exceptions tend to be very industry specific. I have not heard of a "clergy specific" exception. This does not mean that one certainly does not exist, just that I have not heard of it. On the other hand, I have read the actual FLSA law (several times), looked briefly at the related fact sheets, and read cover to cover the ABA law book on FLSA, and "clergy" is not ringing any bells, at least not in an Exempt context.

                        The other possibility is one of the so-called White Collar exceptions. These are not specific to your "industry" (clergy) and rather ignore the industry all together and look solely at job duties. The other responders have mentioned (pretty much all) of the usual suspects. You can try looking at the exceptions mentioned and see if your duties match any of those exceptions.

                        One last point. "Hourly" and "salaried" are just payment methods. "Part time" vs. "full time" do not mean nothing but mean next to nothing in an Exempt context. Exempt is a function of job duties and industry, period. If you really are (or ever were) exempt, then you need to find the specific exemption in play. The related fact sheet will spell exactly what rules are applicable to THAT exception. Payment methods are the "tail" here, not the "dog".
                        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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