Ask HR: Can my Employee be correctly classified as exempt?


Dear HR,

Two of my project managers came into the office today to discuss the salary for a new employee.  The employee will performing supervisor duties as a Foreman, and may occasionally perform some welding and excavating work. My Project Manager said that this employee is a supervisor, and will spend more than half of his time supervising—and will only perform labor when there is a need to help out or train. This employee will be in charge of the whole construction team and will have the right to hire and fire. My Project Managers want him to be exempt (no timecard) with a salary of $2,000 biweekly. Can he be correctly classified as exempt?

A. Yes, it appears your employee may be classified as an “exempt” employee and paid on a salary basis. In general, an employee has to earn at least $455 per week ($23,660 per year), be paid on a salary basis, and perform exempt duties defined by Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Such duties require discretion and independent judgment or if the employee has managerial duties, then they are probably exempt. This means the employee can be paid a salary, so no matter how many hours the employee works, but you do not have to pay your employee overtime wages.  Because of the FLSA, you can’t negotiate whether a job is exempt or nonexempt. Regardless of job title, it’s the duties that employee performs that determines the job category. So just because you call someone a manager, FLSA clearly defines the duties that must be performed to qualify as exempt. In addition, some states have enacted overtime laws pertaining to exempt employees. In those locations, employers must apply whichever standard (federal or state) that is most beneficial to the employee. https://www.cardinal-services.com/exempt-vs-nonexempt/ . When you need assistance classifying your employees, please call Cardinal Services – we can help you stay compliant with all labor laws!

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