When you start a job, you are paid on either an hourly basis, or you are paid a yearly salary. Whether you are paid an hourly rate or a yearly salary depends on how you are classified as an employee.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) mandates that employers pay employees at least the current federal minimum wage for every hour worked. Additionally, employees who work more than 40 hours per week must be paid time and a half of their hourly rate for every hour worked over 40 hours.
These requirements apply only to non-exempt employees. Certain employees are exempt from these rules.
The FLSA duties test
The FLSA duties test determines if you are an exempt or non-exempt employee. Under the duties test, you are an exempt employee if your position falls in one of the following categories:
- Outside sales
The primary job duties of your position determine if it falls in one of these categories. For example, an administrative role includes a primary duty that involves managing a piece of business operations, along with the ability to make independent decisions.
You are still legally entitled to a minimum yearly salary even if you legitimately hold an exempt position. Federal law requires that you are paid no less than $455 per week.
The duties test does not apply to all jobs
The duties test only applies to white-collar employees. If you are working in a blue-collar profession, you are not subject to the duties test and should be paid at least the federal minimum wage and the legal overtime rate for any hours you work more than 40 in a week.
You are also not subject to the duties test if you are a first responder, firefighter, paramedic, police officer or work in a related role.
If you have questions, ask a professional
Your employer should be following the FLSA guidelines regarding exempt and non-exempt employees. Knowing if you are subject to the duties test, or if your position is correctly classified can be rather tricky. If you have questions on what your classification should be, you can always seek guidance outside of your employer.