The Department of Labor recently posted new rules for exempt employees and the calculation of overtime: https://www.dol.gov/featured/overtime/
UIUC Academic Human Resources posted the following on social media (which may or not indicate an endorsement): http://www.cupahr.org/news/item.aspx?id=13597
While it is understandable in these economic times that universities frame this as a cost issue, working over 40 hours a week also has unintended consequences and costs for employees and employers (see for example this CDC report from 2004: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-143/pdfs/2004-143.pdf). Constantly working longer hours leads to health problems and many times renders the employee less productive than working a standard 40 hour work schedule (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/working-more-than-40-hours-a-week-makes-you-less-productive-research-suggests-10466958.html)
Requiring employees to pay overtime forces employers to confront those costs rather than pretending that those costs don’t exist (and passing the costs onto the rest of society via increased health expenses and increased morbidity related to overwork).
The university’s work schedule often ebbs and flows — most academic employees know that the busy times of year (with the highest likelihood of overtime) are the start and end of each term as well as the end of the fiscal year (which thankfully occurs in the summer and not in the middle of the semester). There should not be major problems in adjusting to this as the University of Illinois has access to estimates of overtime for current employees via the positive time reporting mechanism and has many options to prepare before the December 2016 implementation deadline.
Currently, for our unit, only 84 members+ are below the $47,476 salary boundary for overtime eligibility (after December). If the University moved all 84 individuals salaries to above that threshold that would cost in total about $567,000.00. It is doubtful that the University would do this. The university, as a public institution, also could utilize comp time (at 1.5) for overtime worked. (for more information: https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/overtime-highereducation2.pdf)
The other option would be to ensure employees below that threshold don’t work overtime. If units are finding they are constantly having to authorize overtime for a given employee, it might be worthwhile to hire another individual on a .25 or .50 FTE basis. Regardless, there are alternatives that the University can take in order to minimize whatever financial impact these new regulations might have in order to succeed at alleviating the financial and health impact of having some employees constantly overworked.
+ Unfortunately, labor law excludes from overtime educational employees whose main job is interacting with students in academic instruction or training (e.g. academic counselors who perform work such as administering school testing programs, assisting students with academic problems and advising students concerning degree requirements; and other employees with similar responsibilities.) [This includes all tenure and non-tenure stream faculty]. This is determined by job duties and actual duties performed and not job title.