Vision Payroll

March 2, 2010

US Department of Labor Issues and Withdraws Opinion Letter on Exempt Status of Client Service Managers

The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued Administrator signed Opinion Letter FLSA2009-26. Although Opinion Letters only apply to the exact set of facts and circumstances presented in each case, they are a valuable aid in understanding current interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Because the letter was apparently never mailed after it was signed, the DOL under new Secretary Hilda L. Solis has decided to withdraw the letter for further consideration. Therefore, this letter may not be relied upon as a statement of agency policy. It is possible that a different conclusion may be reached when the Opinion Letter is reissued.

In this Opinion Letter, the DOL had stated that client service managers (CSMs) at an insurance agency were exempt administrative employees. The general qualifications for an exempt administrative employee are an employee:

  1. Compensated on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $455 per week . . . ;
  2. Whose primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
  3. Whose primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

It was assumed for the purposes of this opinion letter that the first qualification was met. Since the work the CSMs performed was similar to work performed by employees “ordinarily considered to meet the duties requirements for the administrative exemption” and since “the CSMs primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance”, the CSMs were considered to have met the “requirements of the administrative exemption and are accordingly exempt from the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the FLSA.”

State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. The DOL may come to a different conclusion when it reissues the Opinion Letter after further consideration. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about this Opinion Letter.

May 4, 2009

US Department of Labor Issues Opinion Letter on Convention and Visitors Services Sales Manager

The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued Administrator signed Opinion Letter FLSA2009-4. Although Opinion Letters only apply to the exact set of facts and circumstances presented in each case, they are a valuable aid in understanding current interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In this Opinion Letter, the DOL concluded that a convention and visitors services sales manager whose “primary duty is marketing and promotional work to enhance the city as a destination for conventions and visitors” qualified for the administrative exemption to the FLSA. In addition to a salary of at least $455 per week, to qualify for the administrative exemption an employee must perform office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers and a primary component of which involves the exercise of independent judgment and discretion about matters of significance.

The employee in question was primarily involved in marketing, which is considered office or non-manual work. This is true even though the employee performed some support and clerical duties, since this non-exempt work was not the employee’s primary duty. Furthermore, the employee exercised independent judgment and discretion since the employee performed important duties on matters of significant economic import to the city with minimal supervision.

The DOL did not address whether the employee qualified under the professional exemption since the matter was moot.

State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about this Opinion Letter.

November 2, 2008

Administrative Exemption Examples Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , — Vision @ 10:50 am

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees must be paid a minimum hourly wage and an overtime premium of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty per week. This is the one of a continuing series that discusses FLSA exemptions. The administrative exemption allows employees who qualify as “administrative employees” to be exempted from both minimum wage and overtime requirements. Earlier posts discussed the definition of an administrative employee. The following are examples of specific jobs that generally either qualify or don’t qualify the employee under the administrative exemption:

  • Insurance claims adjusters qualify whether they work for an insurance or other type company.
  • Financial services employees who analyze information, advise customers, market, service or promote the products qualify, but not those whose primary duty is selling.
  • Employees who lead a team of employees “assigned to complete major projects for the employer”, even those without direct supervisory authority should qualify.
  • Executive assistant or administrative assistant to a business owner or senior executive will qualify if the assistant has been delegated authority over significant matters.
  • Human resources mangers who “formulate, interpret or implement employment policies” do qualify. Personnel clerks who screen applicants for minimum acceptable standards as set by others generally do not qualify.
  • Management consultants who propose changes in a business’s operation qualify.
  • Purchasing agents with authority to make significant purchases qualify even if the agents need consultation for unusually large commitments.
  • Inspectors “along standardized lines involving well-established techniques and procedures” and those doing other ordinary inspection work do not qualify.
  • Examiners or graders do not qualify, even if the employee has progressed to a point that reference to written standards is unnecessary because of acquired knowledge.
  • Comparison shoppers who report prices to a retail stores buyer do not qualify, but the buyer who evaluates the information to set the prices does qualify.
  • Inspectors and investigators in the public sector, including those involved in “fire prevention or safety, building or construction, health or sanitation, environmental or soils specialists” among others do not qualify.

Note that merely giving someone a title does not qualify the employee as exempt unless the duties and responsibilities that the job encumbers are also designated. State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about the administrative exemption.

August 26, 2008

Discretion and Independent Judgment Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees must be paid a minimum hourly wage and an overtime premium of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty per week. This is the one of a continuing series that discusses FLSA exemptions. The administrative exemption allows employees who qualify as “administrative employees” to be exempted from both minimum wage and overtime requirements. An earlier post discussed that to qualify for the administrative exemption, an employee must “exercise…discretion and independent judgment” in significant matters. Discretion and independent judgment involve “the comparison and the evaluation of possible courses of conduct, and acting or making a decision after” considering various possibilities. Some factors are “whether the employee has authority to formulate, affect, interpret, or implement management policies or operating practices; whether the employee carries out major assignments in conducting the operations of the business; whether the employee performs work that affects business operations to a substantial degree, even if the employee’s assignments are related to operation of a particular segment of the business; whether the employee has authority to commit the employer in matters that have significant financial impact; whether the employee has authority to waive or deviate from established policies and procedures without prior approval; whether the employee has authority to negotiate and bind the company on significant matters; whether the employee provides consultation or expert advice to management; whether the employee is involved in planning long- or short-term business objectives; whether the employee investigates and resolves matters of significance on behalf of management; and whether the employee represents the company in handling complaints, arbitrating disputes or resolving grievances.” The regulations specifically state that other factors may also be considered in making the determination. Discretion and independent judgment generally require an employee to make decisions “free from immediate direction or supervision.” The decisions may, however, be reviewed by upper-level personnel or not followed at all. Neither means that the employee did not exercise discretion and independent judgment. The fact that several employees may perform similar work or work of the same level of importance is not necessarily enough to disqualify the work from requiring discretion and independent judgment. Types of work that do not require discretion and independent judgment “include clerical or secretarial work, recording or tabulating data, or performing other mechanical, repetitive, recurrent or routine work.” The fact that an employer may suffer “financial losses” if an employee fails to properly perform a job does not necessarily mean that an employee who performs that job exercises discretion and independent judgment. State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about the administrative exemption.

August 25, 2008

Directly Related to Management or General Business Operations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , — Vision @ 12:08 pm

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees must be paid a minimum hourly wage and an overtime premium of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty per week. This is the one of a continuing series that discusses FLSA exemptions. The administrative exemption allows employees who qualify as “administrative employees” to be exempted from both minimum wage and overtime requirements. An earlier post discussed that to qualify for the administrative exemption, an employee’ s primary duty must be “the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers.” Therefore “working on a manufacturing production line or selling a product in a retail or service establishment” does not qualify as an exempt administrative function. Examples of work that does qualify include work in functional areas such as tax; finance; accounting; budgeting; auditing; insurance; quality control; purchasing; procurement; advertising; marketing; research; safety and health; personnel management; human resources; employee benefits; labor relations; public relations, government relations; computer network, internet and database administration; [and] legal and regulatory compliance.” The regulations specifically state that other duties not listed above may also be included in the duties of an administrative employee and that such duties may also be performed by employees who qualify under other FLSA exemptions. State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about the administrative exemption.

August 24, 2008

Administrative Exemption Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , — Vision @ 8:35 pm

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees must be paid a minimum hourly wage and an overtime premium of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty per week. This is the one of a continuing series that discusses FLSA exemptions. The administrative exemption allows employees who qualify as “administrative employees” to be exempted from both minimum wage and overtime requirements. Only employees “employed in a bona fide administrative capacity” qualify for the exemption. Any employee who meets all the following tests shall be considered an “administrative employee” for this purpose: 1) The employee must receive a salary of at least $455 per week, not including board, lodging, or other facilities. 2) The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers.” 3) The employee must “exercise…discretion and independent judgment” in significant matters. Future posts will provide further clarification of certain terms in the administrative exemption as well as provide other tests that may qualify an employee as an administrative employee. State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about the administrative exemption.

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