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The difference between exempt and nonexempt employees (PART 2)

Today we continue our discussion about the different classifications of jobs under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In our last post we discussed what it means to be a nonexempt employee. Basically, these are the employees that should be getting paid minimum wage and should be receiving overtime pay.

The other classification is known as exempt. These employees are not entitled to overtime pay. For the most part, in order for a job to be considered exempt, it has to meet three specific tests. The job needs to be paid on a salary basis, it needs to pay at least $23,600 per year and it needs to involve exempt job duties. There are a handful of exceptions to this rule, but most professions need to meet these three guidelines.

Some may wonder what these exempt job duties look like. The FLSA puts them in three categories: administrative, professional and executive. Administrative roles are those that support the business, such as public relations, accounting and human resources. The work should be nonmanual office work and should be directly related to general business operations. It should also involve the use of discretion or independent judgment and involve matters of significance. Not all clerical workers fall under this category.

Professional jobs can be, in simple terms, described as any job that requires advanced training or education. They require the use of discretion and judgment or talent and imagination. Some examples are teachers, lawyers, doctors, writers, and musicians.

The final category is the executive category. These are jobs that supervise two or more employees on a regular basis, have genuine input on other employees' job statuses, and have a primary duty of managing.

When negotiating a contract with a potential employer, it's important to understand how your position will be categorized. If you are uncertain about the laws governing these specifics, it can be helpful to have an attorney on your side as you negotiate your contract. Similarly, if you have been working as an exempt employee and later find out you should have been classified as nonexempt, an attorney can help you seek the overtime pay you deserve.

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