White-Collar Overtime Rules


In order for an employee to qualify as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rules, employees must generally meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 (Federal) and $640 (California) per week. The employee’s actual job duties (not their title or job description) determine exempt status. Here is a brief description of what qualifies for the three main exemptions:

These tests must be met for the Executive Exemption:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary basis at a rate not less than $455 (Federal) and $640 (California) per week.
  • The employees’ primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or one of its customarily recognized departments or subdivisions.
  • He or she must direct the work of two or more full-time employees.
  • The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or his or her suggestions and recommendations about changing the employment status of other employees must be given particular weight.

These tests must be met in addition to earning no less than the rates cited above for the Administrative Exemption:

  • The employee’s primary duty must be performing office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or its customers. 
  • The employee’s primary duty includes exercising discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

There are two types of exempt professional employees (Learned Professionals and Creative Professionals). In addition to earning no less than the rates cited above these tests must be met for the Professional Exemption: 

  • A learned professional must perform work that requires advanced knowledge, is predominantly intellectual and which requires discretion and judgment.
  • Creative professionals’ primary duties must be performing work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.

If you are interested in an in-depth discussion on these topics or if you need assistance in the above-mentioned areas, please contact HR Advisors.


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