Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Exemptions

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes standards for minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor. Although the Act affects more than 130 million workers, some employers and employees are exempt.

The Act applies to enterprises with employees who engage in interstate commerce, produce goods for interstate commerce, or handle, sell, or work on goods or materials that have been moved in or produced for interstate commerce. Case law has created a liberal interpretation of these elements in order to protect employees. In addition, for the Act to apply, the enterprise must have not less than $500,000 in annual dollar volume business.

Some employees who work for covered employers, may nevertheless be exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Act based on the work they perform. At the top of the list is the exemption for executive, administrative, and professional employees. These individuals are typically paid a set salary without regard to the number of hours spent on the job in any given workweek. (This “exemption” has resulted in a tremendous amount of court litigation. Employers often seek to avoid the Act’s overtime requirements by classifying employees as executives (e.g., “manager”), without matching the pay and job responsibilities with the title. To avoid inequity, the courts look to substance rather than rely on mere words.)

Examples of other employees exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime requirements include:

  • Casual babysitters
  • Companions for the elderly
  • Employees engaged in newspaper delivery
  • Federal criminal investigators
  • Seamen employed on foreign vessels
  • Switchboard operators


Examples of employees exempt from the overtime wage requirement only:

  • Aircraft salespeople
  • Airline employees
  • Boat salespeople
  • Domestic employees who live-in
  • Local delivery drivers and driver’s helpers
  • Railroad employees
  • Seamen on American vessels
  • Taxicab drivers
  • Youth employed by their parents

Although the FLSA is a relatively short and concise body of Federal law, it has proven to be a breeding ground for numerous court battles over its meaning and application. Business owners and employees are well-advised to seek the counsel of an experienced FLSA lawyer before making any serious decisions. The consequences of failing to do so could prove costly.

Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.

Please contact us today to arrange a free, confidential consultation to discuss your important legal matters.