Texas Tech University

Exemption Guidance


Difference between nonexempt employees and exempt employees

Nonexempt Employees:

Under the FLSA, nonexempt employees must be paid minimum wage, are entitled to pay at the rate of one and a half times the employee's regular hourly wage for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a given workweek and are required to report hours as they are worked.

Exempt Employees:

Employees who are exempt from the FLSA must meet the criteria set forth by the DOL in one or more of the white collar exemptions. The qualifying criteria for a white collar exemption are:

  • The employee must be paid a salary rather than an hourly wage.
  • That salary must meet a minimum dollar amount set by the DOL which is $913 per week or $47,476 annually, and
  • The employees must perform primary duties that the DOL deems consistent with executive, administrative, computer, and professional work. *Human Resources has developed exemption test worksheets to assist departments in verifying that their exempt employees meet the DOL standards.

Exempt employees are generally expected to devote the number of hours necessary to complete their respective tasks. Their compensation doesn't change based on actual hours worked. Exempt employees aren't paid extra for working more than 40 hours per week; they are paid for getting the job done.

Duties That Do Not Qualify for FLSA Overtime Exemption

Blue Collar Workers

The exemptions provided by the Fair Labor Standards Act do not apply to manual laborers or other workers who perform work involving repetitive operations with their hands, physical skill, and energy. Such nonexempt employees gain the skills and knowledge required for performance of their routine manual and physical work through apprenticeships and on-the-job training.

Employees who work in production, maintenance, construction, and other similar occupations such as carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, craftsmen, operating engineers, and so forth are entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA.

Police, Fire Fighters, Paramedics and Other First Responders

The exemptions provided by the Fair Labor Standards Act do not apply to police officers, detectives, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, highway patrol officers, investigators, inspectors, correctional officers, parole or probation officers, park rangers, fire fighters, paramedics, hazardous material workers and other similar employees regardless of rank or pay level, who perform work such as preventing, controlling or extinguishing fires of any type; rescuing fire, crime or accident victims; preventing or detecting crimes; conducting investigations or inspections for violations of law; performing surveillance; pursuing, restraining and apprehending suspects; detaining or supervising suspected and convicted criminals, including those on probation or parole; interviewing witnesses; interrogating and fingerprinting suspects; preparing investigative reports; or other similar work.

FLSA Exemption Worksheets