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WKU Compensation FAQs


Positions may change in work content or responsibility. A position may be re-evaluated when there has been a significant change in the required skills and responsibilities.  The following reasons are not justification for re-evaluating a position:  a pending job offer, exceptional qualifications of the employee, employee personality, scarcity of new employees, financial need, relative efficiency, volume of work, length of service, or unusual diligence of overtime.

The department reviews the Job Description and supporting data, taking into consideration:

  • Scope and level of responsibility within the position’s function
  • Level/impact of decision making authority
  • Reporting structure within the department
  • Comparison to previous written job descriptions or other positions of similar duties within the department or University

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes standards to determine overtime pay.  The determination of "exempt" or "non-exempt" is made by the Western Kentucky University Human Resources team in accordance with the established FLSA criteria.

Non-Exempt Status

Western Kentucky University is required by law to pay non-exempt staff for all hours worked beyond 40 hours in a work week at the rate of one-and-one-half times their regular hourly wage.

Exempt Status

Staff performing exempt work are not covered by the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA and are not eligible to receive overtime pay.

How is an exempt classification identified?

There are multiple key factors and risks to be considered when classifying a position exempt or non-exempt and several categories identified for exempt status.  Our HR Compensation team is trained in making the applicable decision for positions at the University.

Some decision factors include, but are not limited to:
  • Salary basis must be at a rate not less than $35,568 annually ($684 per week).
  • Management decisions such as directing the work of at least two full-time employees and making decisions to hire or fire employees
  • Non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the University and exercising discretion and independent judgement with respect to the running of the business. 
  • Performance of work requiring advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.
  • The following items are not automatic determining factors: 
    • Working with high budget items
    • Requiring a Bachelor’s Degree
    • Being paid a salary
    • Having a title of manager/supervisor/administrator
    • Having a similar title to other exempt University employees
    • Making day-to-day decisions

For more information visit the Department of Labor website.

The Compensation team takes into consideration several factors when determining the most appropriate classification for all positions.  It is important to take into account the benefits and risks for any classification.


In 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Final Rule regarding the minimum salary threshold for determining exemption from overtime payments.  In anticipation of implementing the Final Rule, WKU adjusted 300+ individuals from the monthly payroll to the semi-monthly payroll schedule.  However, later in 2016, a court overturned the regulation and definitive implementation was put on hold for additional review by the DOL.  Since this time, we have maintained the payroll changes for those potentially affected individuals and identified them as the “transition group".

On September 24, 2019, the Department of Labor announced its Final Rule updating overtime regulations.  More details can be found here https://www.wku.edu/hr/compensation/2020regulation.php

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 7/19/21