As I previously informed you, NTEU settled a national grievance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) status of Paralegal Specialists.
Pursuant to the settlement, Paralegal Specialists have been reclassified as covered by (or nonexempt under) the FLSA. That means, going forward, Paralegal Specialists are entitled to a choice between compensatory time off or overtime pay at time-and-a-half, for all overtime hours worked.
In addition, pursuant to the parties’ settlement, HHS has been calculating how much back pay these employees are owed for improperly compensated overtime that they worked going back to March 10, 2010. Employees who are owed back pay will receive a matching amount of 100% liquidated damages.
HHS recently informed NTEU that it has completed the back pay calculations. HHS has now begun sending statements to every former and current employee covered by the settlement with the agency’s calculations of how much back pay each employee is owed. HHS will send statements to current employees via e-mail and to former employees via regular U.S. mail.
Employees who disagree with HHS’s calculations as reflected on the statement may file a claim within 30 days of receiving the statement. The statements explain the process for filing a claim. Please read these instructions carefully. Employees who agree with the agency’s calculations of how much back pay they are owed do not need to take any additional steps. HHS will proceed with processing payments, if applicable, for employees who do not file claims.
Employees who were formerly Paralegal Specialists but who were later reclassified as Government Information Specialists should note that the FLSA status of Government Information Specialists was addressed in a separate settlement agreement. Overtime worked while classified as a Government Information Specialist will not be reflected on the forthcoming statements. Government Information Specialists can expect to learn more about whether they are eligible for additional overtime compensation in the next few months.
NTEU is pleased that HHS is proceeding with the necessary implementation of this important settlement. Back pay and proper classification under the federal overtime laws are two solid examples of the benefits of NTEU representation.