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What constitutes an exempt employee?

Workers in New York who are considered to be exempt employees may be confused as to what this means. While the factors can be murky regarding what constitutes this type of worker, there are certain requirements that must be met in the state. Employees who feel they are misclassified may want to speak with an employee law attorney to examine their rights.

According to FindLaw, there are federal standards that outline who is entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. These employees are considered to be non-exempt, and most of them are paid by the hour. In contrast, many salaried employees are considered to be exempt, which means that they are not eligible for overtime pay when they work over 40 hours in a week. However, being paid a salary alone does not necessarily mean a worker is exempt. He or she must also perform specific job duties as part of a daily routine. These tasks typically fall under three categories: executive, professional and administrative.

For example, the New York State Department of Labor outlines the requirements that an administrative employee needs to meet in order to be classified as exempt. These include:

  • Regularly thinks independently and exercises prudence
  • Primary duties are related to general operations or management in an office setting
  • Regularly assists employee or employer who is in executive position
  • Work requires special expertise or training

There are also minimum salary requirements related to exempt employees. These range from $727.50 per week to $825.00 per week, and the specific amounts are determined based on the particular New York county in which the worker is employed. 



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