1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees

What Is the Difference Between an Exempt and Non-Exempt Employee?


Business executives at entrance of an office building

Some employees are exempt from overtime pay requirements.

ONOKY - Fabrice LEROUGE/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Definition: Certain types of employees, who are classified as exempt employees, are not entitled to overtime pay as guaranteed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If an employee is classified as exempt (vs. non-exempt) their employer is not required to pay them overtime pay.

Administrative, executive, and professional employees, outside salespeople and certain computer employees may be classified as exempt if they meet the following criteria:

  • Employees are paid on a salary rather than an an hourly basis.
  • Employees earn at least $455 per week.
  • Employees are paid full salary for any week they work, regardless of how much time they work.

In addition, to qualifying for exemption from overtime, employees generally must also meet certain tests regarding their job duties and responsibilities.

In general, non-exempt employees earning less than $455 per week, which is $23,660 per year, are guaranteed overtime pay.

Also Known As: exempt employee, exempt vs. non-exempt employee

Examples: Susan is an exempt employee, therefore not entitled to overtime pay.

Related Articles: What is the Different Between Hourly and Salary Employees?

Read More: What is an Hourly Employee? | What is a Salary Employee |  How Much Do I Get Paid for Overtime?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.