December 12, 2019
*Note: The Department of Labor revised the regulations located at 29 C.F.R. part 541 with an effective date of January 1, 2020. WHD will continue to enforce the 2004 part 541 regulations through December 31, 2019, including the $455 per week standard salary level and $100,000 annual compensation level for Highly Compensated Employees. The final rule is available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/09/27/2019-20353/defining-and-delimiting-the-exemptions-for-executive-administrative-professional-outside-sales-and.
This fact sheet provides general information on the exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay provided by Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA as defined by Regulations, 29 C.F.R. Part 541.
The FLSA requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at not less than time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek.
However, Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees. Section 13(a)(1) and Section 13(a)(17) also exempt certain computer employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $684* per week. Employers may use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid on an annual or more frequent basis, to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level. Job titles do not determine exempt status. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the Department’s regulations.
See other fact sheets in this series for more information on the exemptions for executive, administrative, professional, computer and outside sales employees, and for more information on the salary basis requirement.
To qualify for the executive employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
To qualify for the administrative employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
To qualify for the learned professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
To qualify for the creative professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
To qualify for the computer employee exemption, the following tests must be met:
To qualify for the outside sales employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
Highly compensated employees performing office or non-manual work and paid total annual compensation of $107,432 or more (which must include at least $684* per week paid on a salary or fee basis) are exempt from the FLSA if they customarily and regularly perform at least one of the duties of an exempt executive, administrative or professional employee identified in the standard tests for exemption.
The exemptions provided by FLSA Section 13(a)(1) apply only to “white-collar” employees who meet the salary and duties tests set forth in the Part 541 regulations. The exemptions do not apply to manual laborers or other “blue-collar” workers who perform work involving repetitive operations with their hands, physical skill and energy. FLSA-covered, non-management employees in production, maintenance, construction and similar occupations such as carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, iron workers, craftsmen, operating engineers, longshoremen, construction workers and laborers are entitled to minimum wage and overtime premium pay under the FLSA, and are not exempt under the Part 541 regulations no matter how highly paid they might be.
The exemptions also do not apply to police officers, detectives, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, highway patrol officers, investigators, inspectors, correctional officers, parole or probation officers, park rangers, fire fighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, ambulance personnel, rescue workers, hazardous materials workers and similar employees, regardless of rank or pay level, who perform work such as preventing, controlling or extinguishing fires of any type; rescuing fire, crime or accident victims; preventing or detecting crimes; conducting investigations or inspections for violations of law; performing surveillance; pursuing, restraining and apprehending suspects; detaining or supervising suspected and convicted criminals, including those on probation or parole; interviewing witnesses; interrogating and fingerprinting suspects; preparing investigative reports; or other similar work.
Other Laws & Collective Bargaining Agreements
The FLSA provides minimum standards that may be exceeded, but cannot be waived or reduced. Employers must comply, for example, with any Federal, State or municipal laws, regulations or ordinances establishing a higher minimum wage or lower maximum workweek than those established under the FLSA. Similarly, employers may, on their own initiative or under a collective bargaining agreement, provide a higher wage, shorter workweek, or higher overtime premium than provided under the FLSA. While collective bargaining agreements cannot waive or reduce FLSA protections, nothing in the FLSA or the Part 541 regulation relieves employers from their contractual obligations under such bargaining agreements.
Where to Obtain Additional Information
For additional information, visit our Wage and Hour Division Website: http://www.wagehour.dol.gov and/or call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).
When state law differs from the federal FLSA, an employer must comply with the standard most protective to employees. Links to your state labor department can be found at /agencies/whd/contact/local-offices.
This publication is for general information and is not to be considered in the same light as official statements of position contained in the regulations.
“Fact Sheet #17A: Exemption for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Computer & Outside Sales Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).” U.S. Department of Labor, www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fact-sheets/17a-overtime.