Should you classify as an exempt or non-exempt employee?

  Enacted in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act still has a major impact on U.S. employers today. And the law’s overtime and minimum wage provisions are especially key for firms to master, with the classification of exempt and non-exempt employees an important issue.

Per the FLSA, the following job types are among those that can be exempt from overtime and wage provisions: administrative, executive, professional (learned or creative), computer employee and outside sales.

As a human resources professional, the job description can be an important tool when it comes to determining exempt vs. non-exempt. Using the description as your guideline is key in determining overtime and minimum wage eligibility. Job titles don’t matter; job descriptions and duties do.

Here’s another good rule of thumb: if a job is managerial or strategic in action – i.e., the employee is making strategic decisions and directing other workers – the worker is probably exempt from overtime laws. However, if an employee is completing tasks while receiving direction, he or she is likely non-exempt from overtime.

Classifying exempt from non-exempt employees isn’t always an easy task. If you’d like more information on your exempt from non-exempt options, please contact a Plexus professional at 847.307.6100 or 972-770-5010, or visit us on the Web at

References U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. “Fact Sheet #17A: Exemption for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Computer and Outside Sales Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).” July 2008.