What Do "Exempt" and "Non-Exempt" Mean?
"Exempt" means that, with respect to a particular employee, the employer is exempt from the obligation to pay the overtime premium. "Non-exempt" means that the employee must be paid the premium rate if they work more than 40 hours in a given week.
There are many exemptions to the overtime laws, some very general (for example, a bona fide executive, professional or administrative employee) and some very specific (for example, outside sales representatives or software engineers).
It is important to know that in order to be exempt, an employee must both be paid on a salary basis and perform duties that the law considers exempt.
Employers often get this wrong, and just because a job is described as "exempt," or a paystub reflects a status of exempt, that does not necessarily mean the law will recognize it as truly exempt. If you are in doubt, it is a good idea to consult an experienced employment lawyer who can help you make sure employees are being paid correctly.
Learn more here about overtime exemptions.
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