Your customer service employee may be exempt if they meet certain Federal Labor Standards Act (FSLA)
and state-specific criteria.
Determining Exempt vs. Non-Exempt
Whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt, according to FSLA, is determined by the following three things:
- Their compensation
- The type of work the employee does
- Their specific duties
Customer Service Employee
There are several categories
of exempt employees:
- Computer Professional
- Outside sales
- Highly Compensated
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a customer service representative could be considered an administrative employee and qualify for exemption
if they satisfy all three of the following:
- The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
- The employee's primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work, and it must be directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer's customers; and
- The employee's primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.
So, if a customer service representative primarily deals with the management of the employer's customers and has to exercise independent judgment in these dealings, they could be classified as exempt. However, if your customer service employees currently make less than $455 weekly, they wouldn't be exempt.
In addition to the federal law, you will also want to make sure you check your state's laws as they can sometimes be more rigorous. For instance, Connecticut
sets their salary basis at $475.00 per week, $20 higher than the federal salary test.
also sets their salary threshold a bit higher than the federal salary test. In order to qualify for exemption, an administrative employee must earn a monthly salary that equates to at least two times the state minimum wage, and this is based on a 40-hour workweek. Additionally, the administrative employee must meet certain criteria to be classified as exempt in California, and these are more detailed than the federal requirements.
FLSA Final Rule
On November 22, 2016, a federal court put a hold
on the Department of Labor's increase to the minimum salary requirement for the Executive, Administrative, and Professional exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016. This is currently pending legal action.
Determining whether or not your employee qualifies as exempt should be looked at on a case by case basis, and the employee must fulfill all necessary criteria in order to be classified as exempt. Even if your employee is compensated at a higher rate than the minimum salary requirement, they still need to meet specific duties tests.
FLSA Overtime Security Advisor - DOL.gov
Overtime Laws, US Department of Labor - DOL.gov
DOL's Final Rule - DOL.gov
Exempt vs. non-exempt