What Qualifies As an Exemption Under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Department of Labor is currently preparing revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which will be issued in the next coming months. Most observers believe that these revisions will include adjustment to the “salary basis” test. Currently, if employees make more than $455 and fall into certain “white-collar” categories, employers may classify such workers as exempt and not be required to pay overtime. However, because this threshold is so low, often workers deserving of overtime pay fall into the exempt category and are denied the opportunity to earn such compensation.

In addition to meeting the salary requirements, employees may be considered exempt where they perform certain executive, administrative or professional duties.

The executive exemption applies to those workers whose primary duty is the management of the “enterprise” or a subdivision, and who have the authority to “hire, fire, and promote employees or make such personnel recommendations that hold weight with the employer.”

Often business owners, managers and vice presidents fall into this category, but a title alone is not enough to meet the criteria.

The administrative exemption applies to workers whose primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and “includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.”

Professional exemptions generally apply to workers who are either learned or creative professionals. This includes employees that perform duties requiring advanced knowledge, in a field of science or learning, where the advanced knowledge is “customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.”

For more information about the FLSA or if you have questions about whether you are exempt or non-exempt, please contact the experienced Atlanta work place lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.