Question: What determines if an employee falls within one of the FLSA white collar exemptions?
Answer: Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to qualify for exemption, a white collar employee generally must:
- Be salaried, meaning that he or she is paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed (the “salary basis test”);
- Be paid at least a specified weekly salary level, which is currently $455 per week and proposed at $679 per week effective January 1, 2020 (the equivalent of $35,308 annually for a full-year worker) (the “salary level test”); and
- Primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties, as defined in the DOL’s regulations (the “duties test”).
Certain white collar employees are not subject to either the salary basis or salary level tests (for example, doctors, teachers, outside salespeople, and lawyers).