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Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees

Sep 10

If you’ve tried to learn more about your rights as an employee, you may have noticed that some employees are classified differently. Some employees are “exempt,” while others are “non-exempt,” and you might not be sure what the difference between the two is. Knowing what makes an employee exempt or non-exempt is important for helping you understand what rights you’re entitled to in the workplace. 

One of the most important reasons that you need to know if you’re exempt or non-exempt is because your classification affects your eligibility for overtime pay. When you’re entitled to certain rights as an employee, you want to know what they are to ensure your employer isn’t taking advantage of you. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a labor law that helps protect employees. This law sets standards for the minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping, and child labor for employees in both private and public sectors. However, not all aspects of the FLSA apply to everyone. 

The FLSA has guidelines regarding which employees are covered by certain parts of the Act. The overtime pay standards set by the FLSA do not apply to exempt employees. Because of this, they may receive the same amount of pay regardless of the hours they worked. An exempt employee may still be covered by other portions of the Act, even if they aren’t entitled to receive overtime pay. Some employees are also exempt from receiving minimum wage

How are Exempt and Non-Exempt Employees Different?

If you work more than 40 hours a week, you want to be sure that you’re compensated fairly if you’re entitled to overtime pay. Employees who make under the minimum wage also need to know if this is legal. But how do you know if you’re exempt or not? It is up to your employer to classify you properly, but there are a few factors that can determine whether an employee is exempt or not. 

Wages Earned 

To be exempt from receiving overtime pay, an employee must earn at least $455 per week. Exempt employees are also salaried, rather than given an hourly wage. These employees may work more than 40 hours a week without receiving overtime pay if this is required to finish their work.

Duties Performed

While there are many employees who may earn more than $455 per week, the duties of an employee’s job can also affect whether or not they’re eligible for overtime pay. Common examples of exempt employees include executive, administrative, and professional employees, in addition to farmworkers and certain employees in seasonal amusement or recreational establishments. The FLSA has even more exemption guidelines regarding what jobs may be exempt from overtime pay and minimum wage.

Talk to a Lawyer if You’re Being Unfairly Compensated

If you’re a non-exempt employee, you have a right to receive overtime pay and should be making at least minimum wage. You deserve the money you’ve worked for, and if your employer is withholding it or has you incorrectly classified as an exempt employee, you may need a lawyer to help recover what you’re owed. At Brown Kwon & Lam, we know how important it is for employees to be fairly compensated for the work they do for their employers and can help those who haven’t been paid properly. 

Don’t hesitate to get help if you aren’t getting what you’re entitled to. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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