Assistant athletic coaches are among the employees seeing increases in their salaries in response to changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which formally goes into effect December 1.

These changes comes after a holistic review and revision of compensation practices the College completed to comply with FLSA. This is the same review that examined the stipend pay of student employees and is transitioning it to hourly wages. 

These FLSA changes revise the white collar overtime exemption rules. This includes increasing the minimum annual salary for overtime exempt employees from $23,660 to $47,476. Workers who make under $47,476 must track their hours, because they are entitled to overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week.

Vice President for Human Resources Tamara Spoerri explained the law.

“You need to know how many hours people are working in order to make sure they are being paid a minimum wage and an appropriate overtime wage,” she said.

At Bowdoin, this meant that some employees who were previously salaried were moved to hourly positions. Additionally, people who were near the $47,476 limit received pay increases. 

“No one got a pay decrease. If anything, people got a pay increase,” said Spoerri.

The changes impacted positions such as assistant sports coaches because of the seasonal nature of their positions. 

“When [assistant coaches are] traveling with their team, we have pretty generous guidelines to make sure that, in any time they’re working, they’re getting paid for that time,” said Spoerri.

Student employees previously compensated with stipends, such as those who work in the Office of Residential Life, have been tracking their hours online.

“We don’t really have to worry about them going into overtime,” said Spoerri. “But if, for some reason, someone really had a greater number of hours … we’re tracking that now.”

For the Office of Human Recourses, reviewing compensation and complying with new regulations is an ongoing process. 

“Annually, we do a number of competitive salary surveys,” said Spoerri. “We look ... to determine whether our employees are being paid market-based competitive salaries.”

Spoerri went on to note that, for the most part, Bowdoin is easily able to attract potential employees with competitive wages and benefits.

“In Maine, we are seriously an employer of choice,” she said.

In particular, Bowdoin is generous with its healthcare plan. 

“At the College, any [employee of the College] who works a regular 20 hour week—even if it’s for just academic year—gets benefits,” Spoerri said.

The Affordable Care Act’s only mandates that employees working thirty hours or more be offered benefits.

The College does not differentiate between part time and regular employees when it comes to benefits—a popular practice with other employers and colleges.

“[Other colleges] have a part-time rate and a full-time rate where the part-time rate is actually more than the full-time rate,” she said.

Going forward, the Office of Human Resources is closely monitoring the results of Question 4 on Maine’s ballot this election which would raise the state’s minimum wage. If it passes, the College will review existing compensation practices, including separate rates for student employees, casual employees and full-time employees.