Q: Are districts required to pay employees for working outside of the official work calendar?
A: If the work activities outside of the official work calendar are required by the district, the best practice is to provide some form of compensation. How and when payment is due depends on the employee’s exemption status, type of work performed, and district requirements.
Typical methods for compensating new and continuing exempt employees include the following:
- Paying an established daily rate (e.g., $75/day) that differs from the employee’s regular daily rate
- Providing a stipend for extra days or increasing the annual pay for athletic or sponsor activities occurring before the school year
- Trading time worked outside of the calendar (e.g., attending professional development) with designated days off during the official work calendar
- Providing extra-duty pay in the first pay cycle of the new year
For new employees, the time between work performed and the first regularly scheduled pay in September may be a hardship. Some districts address this by offering a 13th or 25th paycheck, depending on the number of payments per year, to provide new employees with a check in August.
Districts interested in paying for duties performed outside of the official work calendar (e.g., professional development, tutoring, summer sports camp) can find market rates in our Supplemental Pay Rates survey in DataCentral. Results can be downloaded upon participation.
The district is not obligated to pay an exempt employee choosing to work during the summer (e.g., setting up classroom, rearranging office, cleaning files).
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay nonexempt employees for all hours worked. If a nonexempt employee works outside of their official work calendar, the district is obligated to pay the employee. Payment may be at an agreed upon rate that differs from the employee’s regular rate, as long as it is above the minimum wage based on the number of hours worked.
Payment must be made in the pay cycle immediately following performance of work. Processing the employee as a temporary employee for work or training outside of the official work calendar will help facilitate a more timely payment option for newly hired non-exempt employees.
An employee injured while decorating a classroom, attending training, coaching, or performing other duties could be considered within the course and scope of their job. Because of this, the employee may qualify for worker’s compensation benefits regardless if the work was required or not.
Supervisors, including principals, should be reminded to report any injury occurring outside of the official work calendar to HR or the workers’ compensation specialist. This allows for proper and timely filing of the First Report of Injury to the workers’ compensation carrier and making sure medical treatment is provided as needed.
Karen Dooley joined HR Services in 2016. She provides oversight to a team of consultants providing staffing services, HR reviews, and other projects. She provides training and assists school districts with their HR-related needs. Dooley is a seasoned administrator with more than 17 years of HR experience in Central Texas districts as a coordinator, director, and assistant superintendent. She also worked as an assistant principal, counselor, and teacher, and holds a superintendent certificate.
Dooley received her master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and her bachelor’s degree from Texas State University.
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