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How to Determine if an Employee Qualifies for the Learned Professional Exemption

Authors: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor, and Allen S. Kinzer, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

Compared to the executive exemption or the administrative exemption, the learned professional exemption is relatively easy and straightforward to apply. Most lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, architects, pharmacists, teachers, hard scientists, actuaries and theologians will qualify. But that does not mean that employers should simply assume an employee with one of these titles is exempt as a professional. Follow these steps to be sure an employee qualifies for the learned professional exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Note: Effective December 1, 2016, new FLSA regulations will raise the minimum weekly salary for exempt learned professional employees from $455 to $913. This minimum salary level will be adjusted every three years.