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Computer Employee Exemption

Editor's Note: Certain computer programmers, analysts and software engineers can be exempt from overtime requirements.

Michael CardmanOverview: Employees who work with computers may qualify for an exemption from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as some state wage and hour laws

However, this exemption is available only for employees whose duties involve systems analysis, programming or computer systems design. It should not be applied to "help desk" staff, to workers manufacture or repair hardware, or to employees like engineers or drafters who simply depend on computers to do their work.

Trends: Effective January 1, 2020, a final overtime rule from the US Department of Labor (DOL) will increase the minimum salary for computer employees paid on a salary basis or on a fee basis from $455 per week (or $23,660 per year) to $684 per week (or $35,568 per year). (The minimum wage for computer employees paid on an hourly basis will remain $27.63 per hour.) The rule also will allow employers to count nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level test, as long as they are paid annually or more frequently.

Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor

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