What Does Full-Time Exempt Mean?


Employers typically post job openings as full or part time. Often, these postings include the terms "exempt" or "non-exempt" in the descriptions. Full or part time refer to how the employer classifies the job for its own purposes. Exempt and non-exempt refer to the position's qualification for inclusion in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Full Time or Part Time

  • The U.S. Department of Labor does not make a determination as to what constitutes full or part time employment, nor does federal labor law. Full or part time employment determination, and the meaning of these designations, is completely up to the employer. Commonly, employers will pay different benefits to full time employees than they do for part time employees, commonly offering vacation pay and sick pay to full time employees, as well as health insurance benefits. Some employers set a maximum number of hours for a part time employee, or a minimum number of hours for a full time worker.

Minimum Wage and Overtime

  • The FLSA sets standards pertaining to the minimum wage an employer must pay for each hour an employee works. An employee covered under this law is said to be non-exempt. Non-exempt employees must also be paid overtime for every hour they work over 40. The overtime rate is one and one-half times the regular rate. If the regular rate is $10 per hour, the overtime rate becomes $15 per hour.

Salaried Employees

  • Employees exempt from the FLSA do not have to be paid minimum wage or overtime. These employees can be paid a fixed salary per week of work without regards to the amount of hours they work. It is generally wise for employers to keep track of the hours worked by their salaried employees for their own records. Salaried employees are typically paid the full week's wages even if they were absent for part of a day, a full day or even several days during the workweek.

Exempt Employee Guidelines

  • An employee's job title does not make him an exempt employee. Employees must qualify under the law to be considered exempt. As of 2011, an employee must be paid a minimum of $455 per week if he is exempt. An employee qualifies for an executive exemption if he directly controls at least three employees in their duties and he can hire or fire employees or have significant input into the process. An administrative exemption applies if the employee performs administrative tasks of the business. Administrative and executive employees must have the power to act with discretion in business matters of importance. Other exemptions apply, but blue collar workers are almost never exempt from minimum wage or overtime.

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