Overview: Two types of professionals are exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): learned professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers, and creative professionals, such as actors, musicians and visual artists.
The former are relatively easy to classify. The basic requirement is that learned professionals must be paid on a salary basis and perform work requiring advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning that is customarily acquired through a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.
The latter are somewhat more difficult to peg down. The general rule is that creative professionals must be paid on a salary basis and perform work that requires invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.
Trends: The US Department of Labor (DOL) is expected to issue new FLSA regulations that will raise the minimum salary for overtime-exempt professional employees.
Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor
Updated to clarify requirements related to the outside salespersons exemption.
Updated to reflect the 2019 annual inflation adjustment to the minimum salaries for overtime-exempt executive, administrative and professional employees, effective January 1, 2019.
Updated to reflect adjustments to the minimum salaries for executive employees, administrative employees and professional employees, and to the minimum pay for computer professionals and physicians and surgeons paid an hourly rate, effective January 1, 2019.
Updated to reflect the 2019 increase in the minimum salary for overtime-exempt executive / supervisory employees, effective January 1, 2019.
Updated to reflect the 2019 increase in the minimum salary for overtime-exempt executive, administrative and professional employees, effective January 1, 2019.
Updated to reflect the increase in the minimum salaries for overtime-exempt executive and administrative employees, effective December 31, 2018.
An independent commission has raised a number of concerns that the Pennsylvania labor department must address before raising the minimum salary for most overtime-exempt employees to nearly $48,000.
Updated to reflect recent developments concerning proposed rules that would increase the minimum salary and update the duties tests for most overtime-exempt workers.
Updated to reflect a Supreme Court ruling concerning an overtime exemption for auto dealership service advisors.
HR guidance on complying with the federal and state requirements for the professional exemption.