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HR How-to: Determining FLSA Overtime and Minimum Wage Exemptions

HR professionals are pivotal in ensuring compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which mandates standards for minimum wage and overtime pay. This responsibility reduces legal risks and guarantees fair compensation for employees. The guide provides a comprehensive approach to determining exemptions from these requirements, particularly focusing on the complexities of classifying employees correctly.

The guide begins with an overview of the FLSA, emphasizing the importance of adhering to federal standards to avoid severe legal repercussions. It covers the foundational elements of the FLSA, including its enforcement by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, and the consequences of non-compliance, such as back pay and legal penalties.

Exemptions from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime provisions, especially the "white-collar" exemptions, are discussed in detail. These exemptions apply to executive, administrative, and professional (EAP) employees, as well as outside sales personnel and certain computer or highly compensated employees (HCEs). The guide explains that employers must first determine if they fall under enterprise or individual coverage to ensure compliance. Enterprise coverage includes businesses with significant annual sales or those in specific sectors like healthcare and education. Individual coverage pertains to employees engaged in interstate commerce activities. To qualify for a white-collar exemption, employees must meet three tests: the salary basis test (ensuring a fixed salary), the salary level test (meeting the minimum salary threshold), and the duties test (matching job duties to exempt roles). The guide elaborates on the process for evaluating these criteria, ensuring that employers can correctly classify employees.

Additionally, the guide covers the specifics of permissible and improper salary deductions, potential exemptions for outside sales and computer employees, and examples of job roles that typically meet exemption criteria. It also highlights the necessity of considering additional exemptions and partial exemptions specific to certain employees and sectors.

To aid in compliance, the guide includes a detailed checklist in the appendix, providing a step-by-step approach for employers to follow. This ensures that HR professionals can confidently navigate FLSA requirements and maintain fair employee compensation practices. Click here for article.

  • Understanding Exemptions: The guide explains the three primary tests for determining white-collar exemptions: salary basis, salary level, and duties test, ensuring employers can accurately classify employees.

  • Coverage Determination: It details how employers can determine if they fall under enterprise or individual coverage, essential for FLSA compliance.

  • Legal Compliance and Consequences: Emphasizes the importance of adhering to FLSA standards to avoid severe legal repercussions, including back pay and legal penalties.

  • Practical Tools: Provides a checklist and detailed steps for HR professionals to follow, facilitating accurate and fair employee classification under FLSA guidelines.

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