Most employees in Florida and Alabama are entitled to at least the federal minimum wage and “time and one-half” overtime pay for all hours worked beyond the 40-hour work week, but there are some exceptions.
Section 13(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) grants exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees that have specific job roles, namely executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees, as well as certain computer employees. In order for an employer to be granted an exemption, employees must meet criteria regarding their job duties and be on a salary for no less than $455 per week.
Keep in mind your job title does not have anything to do with your exempt status. Also, just because your employer says your are exempt from overtime or pays you on a salaried basis does not mean that you are not entitled to overtime.
What follows are basic parameters used to determine your exemption status but more detail on individual job roles can be found at the Department of Labor’s website.
Executive Overtime Exemption
Beyond the salary requirements, to qualify for the Executive exemption your main job duty must be either managing the company itself or a primary department or division of that company. This must entail you directing the work of two or more full-time employees (don’t count yourself!) and having either the authority to hire and/or fire or your input on the hiring, firing, or promotion of other employees.
Administrative employee exemptions apply when the salary requirements are met (though in this case, they can include a fee-based pay structure), if your 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.”That duty must be carried out “with the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance”.
For a Professional exemption to apply you must be paid a salary or fee over $455 per week and your field of work needs to be mainly intellectual and require advanced knowledge (usually related to science or learning) that is customarily obtained through an advanced degree program or similar “prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.” Again, you must have a high level of autonomy and essentially have the highest level of expertise in the company on the subject manner or specific skill for which you were hired. Please note that in most cases, a college degree does not satisfy the “professional exemption”.
Creative Professional Exemption
This is the same as the standard Professional exemption but instead, the primary duty has to be doing work that requires invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a “recognized” creative or artistic realm.
Computer Employee Exemption
Computer employees have the same salary/fee requirements except they can be exempt with an hourly wage, though that wage must exceed $27.63.
You also have to be employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer or something very similar and your main job duty has to consist of at least one of the following:
– Applied systems analysis techniques and procedures. This may include user consultation with the aim of determining functional specifications for hardware, software, or a system.
– Designing, developing, documenting, analyzing, creating, testing, or modifying computer systems, computer programs, or computer programs for machine operating systems. This can include prototypes built for the user or system design specs.
Blue Collar Workers
If you are a “blue-collar worker” you are never exempt from the FLSA no matter how much the employer pays you. The same goes for First “Responders,” e.g. Police, Fire Fighters, Paramedics, correctional officers, park rangers, or any other similar job.
Other Laws & Collective Bargaining Agreements
No matter what, the FLSA standards are a minimum and in no way set any sort of maximum pay that would allow an employer to bypass other legal agreements for a minimum pay or benefit structure. Under no circumstances should it be construed that the FLSA allows legal protection for an employer to pay an employee or exempt employees less or offer them less protections.
“When the state laws differ from the federal FLSA, an employer must comply with the standard most protective to employees.”
This article is intended to be a synopsis of the rules related to employee exemptions under the FLSA. For the actual language of the legislation and further details you may visit http://www.wagehour.dol.
The Law Office of J.J. Talbott is highly experienced in Wage and Hour law and has helped hundreds of people receive compensation for unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, and other unfair treatment in the workplace.
If you feel that you have been improperly classified as an exempt employee or have had your rights under the FLSA violated in any other way, call us today at (850) 695-8331.