What Are Exempt Employees?
Numerous exemptions exist which remove certain types of employees from specified requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The most common exemption is for white collar workers. Other exemptions are granted for a variety of workers including commissioned salespeople, agricultural workers, engineers, creative professionals (journalists, writers, graphic artists, etc.) and highly paid workers.
For example, Section 13(a)(l) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exempts executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees from the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the FLSA, provided they meet certain tests regarding job duties and responsibilities and are compensated "on a salary basis" at not less than stated amounts. Subject to certain exceptions set forth in the regulations, in order to be considered "salaried", employees must receive their full salary for any workweek in which they perform any work without regard to the number of days or hours worked. This rule applies to each exemption that has a salary requirement (outside sales employees, and certain licensed or certified doctors, lawyers and teachers have no salary requirement. For certain computer-related occupations under the professional exemption, they need not be paid a salary if they are paid on an hourly basis at a rate not less than $27.63 per hour). The special requirements which apply to each category of employees are summarized below.
Applicable to employees who have management as their primary duty; who direct the work of two or more full-time employees; who have the authority to hire and fire or make recommendations regarding decisions affecting the employment status of others; who regularly exercise a high degree of independent judgment in their work; who receive a salary which meets the requirements of the exemption; and who do not devote more than 20% of their time to non-management functions (40% in retail and service establishments).
Applicable to employees who perform office or non-manual work which is directly related to the management policies or general business operations of their employer or their employer's customers, or perform such functions in the administration of an educational establishment; who regularly exercise discretion and judgment in their work; who either assist a proprietor or executive, perform specialized or technical work, or execute special assignments; who receive a salary which meets the requirements of the exemption; and who do not devote more than 20% of their time to work other than that described above (40% in retail and service establishments).
Applicable to employees who perform work requiring advanced knowledge and education, work in an artistic field which is original and creative, work as a teacher, or work as a computer system analyst, programmer, software engineer, or similarly skilled worker in the computer software field; who regularly exercise discretion and judgment; who perform work which is intellectual and varied in character, the accomplishment of which cannot be standardized as to time; who receive a salary which meets the requirements of the exemption (except doctors, lawyers, teachers and certain computer occupations); and who do not devote more than 20% of their time to work other than that described above.
Outside Sales Exemption
Applicable to employees who engage in making sales or obtaining orders away from their employer's place of business and who do not devote more than 20% of the hours worked by non-exempt employees of the employer to work other than the making of such sales.
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