How to Determine if an Employee is Exempt

How to Determine if an Employee is Exempt?

Published on June 1st, 2023




As a recruiter or hiring manager, one of your biggest challenges is determining if an employee is exempt or non-exempt. If an employee is exempt, they are not eligible for overtime pay, while non-exempt employees are. The rules and regulations surrounding exempt and non-exempt status can be complex and constantly changing. So, how can you determine if an employee is exempt? In this blog post, we will provide you with the necessary information to make this determination confidently.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The FLSA is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, and record-keeping requirements for covered and nonexempt employees. The Act also defines what it means to be exempt from overtime pay. Your first step in determining whether an employee is exempt is to analyze the FLSA requirements.

Job Duties and Responsibilities

The second step in determining exempt status is to evaluate the job duties and responsibilities of the employee. There are three main exemption categories based on job duties: executive, administrative, and professional. Each category has specific criteria that must be met for the exemption to apply. For example, executives typically manage two or more employees, have the authority to hire and fire, and exercise discretion and independent judgment.

Salary Basis Test

In addition to meeting job duties requirements, the employee must also meet the salary basis test. To be exempt, an employee must receive a predetermined salary that cannot be reduced based on quality or quantity of work performed. This salary must meet a minimum threshold level established by the U.S. Department of Labor. As of January 1, 2020, this threshold is $35,568 per year or $684 per week.

State Laws

It's important to note that many states have their own laws regarding exempt and non-exempt employees. These laws may be more restrictive than the FLSA, which means you'll need to adhere to those laws as well. You can visit your state's labor department website for more information.

Seek Legal Advice

As mentioned earlier, determining exempt status can be a complex process. If you're unsure about whether to classify an employee as exempt, it's best to seek legal advice. Consult with an attorney who specializes in employment law. They will be able to review the employee's job duties and responsibilities, and assess whether the exemption criteria are met.

EasySource for Talent Sourcing

EasySource revolutionizes the process of recruitment for exempt employees by introducing the world's first fully automated talent sourcing tool. This innovative solution simplifies the recruiter's search by effortlessly building a strong talent pipeline with just a few clicks. Leveraging advanced AI-based filters like location, skills, education, experience, and US work authorization, EasySource makes it easier than ever to find relevant candidates.

Moreover, EasySource goes beyond traditional features by integrating ChatGPT and Generative AI capabilities. This empowers recruiters to send highly personalized messages to candidates across multiple platforms, all while benefiting from the efficiency of automation.

With EasySource, recruiters can amplify their LinkedIn search and effortlessly discover and engage potential exempt candidates. Gone are the days of sifting through countless resumes to find that standout talent. EasySource streamlines the process, making talent acquisition a seamless and efficient experience.


In conclusion, while determining whether an employee is exempt can be a complex process, knowing how to do so is critical in order to remain compliant with the FLSA and state laws. Remember to analyze the FLSA requirements, evaluate job duties and responsibilities, apply the salary basis test, consider state laws, and seek legal advice if needed. By being thorough and taking the time to properly classify employees, you can avoid costly legal issues and stay in compliance with the law.




Radhika Sarraf

Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.

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