How to Determine if an Employee Qualifies for the Creative Professional Exemption
Just because an employee's work involves some creativity, as that term is commonly understood, does not mean the employee will qualify for the creative professional exemption. For example, a general assignment newspaper reporter with an eye for detail and a way with words probably will not meet the requirements. However, a big-name reporter who writes analytical or interpretive articles may qualify. Similarly, an animator who brings a cartoon character to life by drawing a series of moving images will not qualify. But the artist who comes up with the idea for the cartoon and sketches out the characters probably would. Follow these steps to determine whether an employee qualifies for the creative professional exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Note: The US Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed regulations that would, if implemented, raise the minimum salary for exempt creative professional employees to an estimated $970 per week, or $50,440 per year, starting in 2016. This minimum salary level would then be adjusted annually. See Employee Classification > Future Developments.