University of Illinois increasing salaries to avoid overtime

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois will spend $3 million in salary increases for about 400 postdoctoral research associates to avoid overtime charges the school would otherwise pay under a new federal rule. The rule from the Department of Labor taking effect Dec. 1 means the annual salary threshold at which companies can deny overtime pay will be doubled from $23,660 to nearly $47,500. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports Sunday that interim Provost Edward Feser told faculty it would be impractical and costly to track researchers’ hours and pay them overtime. He says other universities also are adopting the new minimum salary for researchers. Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler says the average pay of research associates is $39,600. Kaler says the money for the raises will come from existing research grants in some cases.