What is the difference between exempt and non-exempt workers?
Exempt employees are not governed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and therefore are not subject to the overtime requirements of the FLSA. Exempt employees are salaried.
All non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a week. Non-exempt employees are usually paid hourly. They can be salaried, but are still eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours.
If an employee is misclassified as exempt, their employer may be responsible for back wages, including overtime.
What is overtime?
An employer must pay overtime when hours worked exceed 40 in the workweek. The practice of paying overtime only after 80 hours in a bi-weekly pay period is illegal since each workweek must stand alone.
The overtime rate must be equal to 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for time worked over 40 hours in a workweek.
Who is exempt, who is non-exempt?
Exempt or nonexempt status depends on:
- How much they are paid
- How they are paid, and
- What kind of work they do
With few exceptions, an exempt (and thus paid a salary that is not subject to overtime) employee must:
- Be paid at least $23,600 per year ($455 per week)
- Be paid on a salary basis, and
- Perform exempt job duties
Employees must pass all three “tests” to be considered exempt. In general only executive, supervisory, professional or outside sales positions are exempt positions.