Human Resources COVID-19 Updates:
Our Response How to Keep Working & Stay Safe Self-Care

Work Schedules and Rest Periods

COVID-19:  How to Keep Working & Stay Safe
Modified options for flextime and alternative work site during the COVID-19 response.

Employees must follow established work schedules. The usual work schedule is 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday. Normal work hours at the university are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. An employee will be informed of work schedules by the immediate supervisor.

Work schedules for hourly paid staff normally include an unpaid lunch break of at least 30 minutes. Work schedules provide for one paid 15-minute rest period for each consecutive four hours worked. At departmental discretion other employees may receive rest breaks.

If conditions warrant, employees may be asked to work through the normally scheduled rest period. At such times employee cooperation is expected. An employee who believes the department is abusing the rest period policy should contact Human Resources.

NOTE: Rest periods are an employment privilege. Rest periods may not be "saved" to shorten the employee's workday, to extend lunch breaks, or to alter the work schedule in any way. Rest periods not taken will be forfeited. Abuse of rest periods may result in loss of the privilege.


Departments may institute a schedule of flexible working hours for office/service and managerial/professional employees, provided it does not increase staffing costs or decrease departmental efficiency. Flextime allows employees to maintain a work schedule other than normal university hours. Regardless of flextime scheduling, all offices should be sufficiently staffed to maintain regular operations during normal university hours described above.

When used appropriately, flexible scheduling for hourly paid employees can incorporate varying times for arriving at and leaving work and/or for lunch breaks long enough to give time for wellness activities. Because the university is committed to wellness for its employees, departments are encouraged to use flexible scheduling to facilitate employees' ability to engage in wellness activities when it is possible to do so without decreasing work efficiency.

When monthly paid employees are frequently expected to work more than 40 hours in a work week, departments are encouraged to offer them flexibility in arranging work schedules.

When it is possible to do so without decreasing work efficiency, departments are encouraged to consider employee requests for flexible scheduling, for example, four 10-hour days.

Fulltime hourly paid employees, whether on flextime or other scheduling, are required to take an unpaid lunch break of at least 30 minutes.

Flextime schedules must be approved by the immediate supervisor and by an administrator one level above the supervisor. Departments are encouraged to work with employees to accommodate needs for flextime when it is possible to do so without decreasing work efficiency.

Abuse of flextime scheduling may result in loss of the privilege.

Occasions may arise when flextime must be suspended temporarily because of departmental work load, vacations, or other reasons. When this occurs, the department should give employees as much advance notice as possible.

Adequate supervision must be provided for employees on flextime. However, this does not require that supervisors be present during all hours worked by employees. Supervision can frequently be exercised by measuring productivity.

Alternative Work Sites

Guidelines and Best Practices

Departments may wish to consider allowing some employees to perform job responsibilities from home or from other alternative work sites. Depending on the work assignment, this may be appropriate for both office/service and managerial/professional employees.

Departments considering non-traditional work arrangements may wish to address the following factors in a written agreement entered into by the department and the employee:

  • whether the arrangement being considered will cause the hourly paid employee to work more than 40 hours in one workweek, thus incurring eligibility for overtime compensation
  • how responsibilities on the job description will be accomplished in the alternative work arrangement
  • whether any revision to the salary or job description is appropriate
  • a clear understanding between supervisor and employee about performance expectations and an agreed upon method for monitoring work output
  • a plan for communication between the employee and the supervisor and other relevant persons
  • whether the alternative work arrangements should provide for a trial period

Human Resources is available to provide advice and direction in establishing non-traditional work arrangements.


NU Alternative Worksite policy

Alternative Work Arrangement Request Form

Compensable Work Time for Hourly Paid Employees

The university policy directs that hourly paid full-time employees will normally work and be paid for 40 hours during the workweek.

The following is given for clarification and guidance in administering this policy for hourly paid employees:

  • Managers are responsible for arranging work schedules, and employees may be required to work at times different from the regularly scheduled workday.
  • The meal period is not considered as time worked. It may occasionally be necessary for an employee to attend to duties while eating the meal. If an employee is not given an uninterrupted break of at least 30 minutes, the meal period is paid. (Example: For a secretary required or permitted to eat at the desk to answer the telephone, the meal break shall be paid.)
  • The university gives employees one paid 15-minute rest period for each four consecutive hours worked. At departmental discretion other employees may receive rest breaks. These periods are considered as time worked. There is no compensation for rest periods not taken.
  • Attendance at meetings of Academic Senate, UAAD, or UNOPA held during the lunch hour is not considered as time worked. If the meeting extends beyond the time normally allotted for the lunch period, the employee should use normal departmental procedures to request time away from work. Time granted in such circumstances is administrative leave.
  • Service on university committees performed at the request of the chancellor or other administrative personnel is considered as time worked.
  • Time spent at the work site changing clothes is considered as time worked, if the change of clothes is required by the nature of the job.
  • Time spent in oiling, cleaning, or otherwise preparing tools or machines for use (either before or after normal working hours) is considered time worked, if these activities are necessary to the employee's principal responsibilities.

When a department approves an employee's voluntary attendance at a work-related workshop or seminar, the time spent in attendance and travel during normal working hours is considered administrative leave. Time extending beyond regularly scheduled working hours is not considered as compensable time.

Time spent in attendance and travel for required workshops is considered as time worked, when time is confined to one day.

  • When employees travel overnight for a required activity, travel time during the employee's usual working hours, both for workdays and non-workdays (e.g., Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays), is considered as time worked. Travel time as a passenger outside normal working hours is not compensable, but for an employee who is required to drive, the entire travel time is considered as time worked.

Overtime for Hourly Paid Employees

All hourly paid employees (including part-time employees) working more than 40 hours in one workweek, shall receive overtime compensation. This may be in the form of overtime pay or compensatory time, both granted at one and one-half hours for every hour worked above 40.

University of Nebraska law enforcement employees may be compensated for overtime for working over 80 hours in a 14 consecutive day work period. In accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, law enforcement employees are those employees who: (1) are empowered by State statute or local ordinance to enforce laws designed to maintain public peace and order and to protect both life and property from accidental or willful injury, and to prevent and detect crimes; (2) have the power to arrest; and (3) are presently undergoing or have undergone or will undergo on-the-job training and/or a course of instruction and study which typically includes physical training, self-defense, firearm proficiency, criminal and civil law principles, investigative and law enforcement techniques, community relations, medical aid, and ethics.

NOTE: For an employee hired after April 1, 1986, the giving of compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay requires a written agreement. If no written agreement exists, payment will be required for all overtime worked. This may be a perpetual one-time agreement or a case-by-case agreement.

For employees hired before April 1, 1986, no written agreement is required. Employees who work overtime may receive pay or compensatory time at the discretion of the department.


Employees not specifically exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA are considered non-exempt (hourly) employees by the university and are eligible for overtime compensation.  Employees should not be scheduled for overtime work without the appropriate departmental authorization.

Employees exempt from the overtime provision of the FLSA (monthly paid) are not eligible to receive overtime payment. Acceptance of an exempt position at the university constitutes acknowledgement that job responsibilities may sometimes exceed 40 hours a week. When monthly paid employees are frequently expected to work more than 40 hours in a workweek, departments are encouraged to offer them greater flexibility in arranging schedules.

Calculating Pay and Overtime for Hourly Employees

In calculating overtime pay, only hours worked are included.


Friday - Employee works eight hours
Monday - Employee works eight hours
Tuesday - Employee works eight hours
Wednesday - Employee works ten hours
Thursday - Employee works eight hours
In this event the employee will receive pay at the regular rate for 40 hours and overtime pay at one and one-half times the regular rate for 2 hours. (2 hours x 1.5 times regular pay rate)

If leave is used during a workweek where extra hours are worked, the employee will receive pay for the hours worked and the leave.


Friday - Employee works eight hours
Monday - Employee works eight hours
Tuesday - Employee uses eight hours annual leave
Wednesday - Employee works ten hours
Thursday - Employee works eight hours
In this event the employee will receive pay at the regular rate for 42 hours and will have eight hours deducted from accrued vacation leave.

Upon agreement of the supervisor and the employee, the employee in the above example may receive pay at the regular rate for 40 hours and have six hours deducted from accrued vacation leave.

Additional Part-time Positions for Hourly Paid Employees

University employees may choose to work for the University (or for the State of Nebraska) in a part-time position on an occasional or sporadic basis in a capacity different from their regular employment. In some circumstances, the hours of work in the different position might not be counted as hours worked for overtime pay purposes on the regular position. Supervisors should check with Human Resources prior to authorizing the part-time work to see if overtime pay will be required.

Accumulation, Reporting, and Use of Compensatory Time for Hourly Paid Employees

Employees may not accumulate more than 60 hours of compensatory time and they should be paid for any hours in excess of that total. (Note: 40 hours of overtime worked converts to 60 hours of compensatory time.)

Exceptions to the 60-hour limit are as follows:

  • Employees in agriculture may accumulate 240 hours.
  • Employees in public safety and seasonal work (for example, snow removal) may accumulate 120 hours.

Compensatory time earned and used is to be reported to the Payroll Office on the departmental time report using the following earnings types:

  • CME - Compensatory Time Earned
    (record hours worked; system will calculate compensatory time earned)
  • CMU - Compensatory Time Used

Departments will receive a computer printout indicating compensatory time earned and used, together with the unused balance for each employee. These printouts are issued for each biweekly payroll and will be mailed with departmental time reports.

(For additional information on reporting time worked, see Chapter 200, Payroll.)

Accumulated compensatory time must be used or paid out before the effective date of a leave of absence without pay except when an employee is on family/medical leave.

Accumulated compensatory time must be used or paid out prior to the effective date of a promotional salary increase and/or prior to a transfer to another department.

Accumulated compensatory time may be carried over to the next fiscal year.

Employees who leave employment with \the university are entitled to payment for all unused compensatory time at a rate of pay not less than the average regular rate received during the last three years of employment or the final regular rate received by the employee, whichever is higher.

Employees and departments should work together to arrange for the use of compensatory time when it will not be unduly disruptive to the work of the department.

Shift Differential for Hourly Paid Employees

The purpose of paying a shift differential is to increase the rate of pay for hiring and retention purposes of positions that require employees to consistently and routinely perform their duties on the evening or night shifts. This differential is intended to provide additional compensation for working during a generally less desirable time period.  The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s normal business hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Hourly paid employees (excluding student employees) are eligible for shift differential. Temporary and on-call employees may be eligible. The unit leader determines whether or not shift differential will be used. Application of shift differential must be consistent within the university unit and exist in written unit policy approved by Human Resources.

A shift differential of up to ten percent (10%) of base hourly rate may be paid. Employees assigned to consistently work shift differential qualifying hours may be designated as “Shift Workers”. Shift Workers may be paid shift differential during normal business hours if a temporary change in worked hours was made to meet the needs of the University.

Hours worked outside of the normal work schedule (callback, extension of the work shift or for planned or unplanned events) may not be eligible for shift differential.

For employees receiving shift differential, any applicable overtime pay shall be paid based on the shift differential rate.

Shift differential is paid only for hours worked and is not paid to employees on leave, except for Inclement Weather leave.