Georgia businesses must be careful when it comes to wage and hour laws. The difference between nonexempt and exempt employees confuses many companies and employees alike. Knowing the difference could save everyone involved time and money lost due to a wage and hour complaint.
Nonexempt employees are owed overtime pay when working more than 40 hours per week and have the right to earn at least minimum wage. Most employees fall into this category. In fact, most are also paid by the hour.
Overtime pay is not required for exempt employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines some jobs as exempt, such as airline employees and outside sales staff. For most other professions, the definition of an exempt employee includes salaried workers that make more than $23,600 per year. These employees also perform administrative, executive or professional duties.
The FLSA defines the duties for each of those categories to provide companies guidance when determining into which category an employee falls. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. When it comes to exempt employees, some people who are paid by the hour are still considered exempt and not subject to the overtime rules, such as lawyers.
If a Georgia company incorrectly classifies an employee as exempt, it could end up facing a wage and hour complaint. On the other hand, keeping careful records regarding an employee’s status and making sure that he or she understands and acknowledges that status is important. If the company can prove the employee’s status does not entitle him or her to overtime and that the employee knew that, any complaint would be dismissed.
Source: FindLaw, “Exempt Employees vs. Nonexempt Employees“, , Sept. 2, 2014