White Collar Exemption Fact Sheet for Higher Education Institutions

Posted by BAS - 14 June, 2018


The Department of Labor released guidance to help higher education institutions understand when they must pay overtime to employees. Fact Sheet # 17S: Higher Education Institutions and Overtime Pay Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), discusses the applicability of the FLSA overtime exemptions to jobs that are common in higher education institutions.

In general, the FLSA requires that a non-exempt employee must receive minimum wages for his or her work, along with overtime wages whenever he or she works more than 40 hours in a workweek.  Certain employees who perform executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales duties are exempted from the minimum wage and overtime requirements. These exemptions are called the “white collar” exemptions.

To qualify for a white collar exemption, an employee must generally satisfy three tests:

  1. The employee must be paid on a salary basis that is not subject to reduction based on the quality or quantity of work (the “salary basis” test)
  2. The employee must receive a salary at a rate not less than $455 per week (the “salary level test”); and
  3. The employee’s primary duty must involve the kind of work associated with the exempt status sought, such as executive, administrative, or professional work (the “duties test”). 

The Department of Labor understands that the types of jobs at educational institutions may be difficult to categories into the white collar exemption. The newly released fact sheet addresses the following jobs and discusses whether a white collar exemption might apply: teachers, coaches, professional employees, administrative employees, executive employees, and student employees.

Higher education employers should review the fact sheet for helpful guidance on classification of employees and payment of overtime under the FLSA. A copy of the fact sheet can be accessed by clicking here.

Topics: HR & Benefits Compliance

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