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FLSA Part-Time Exemption Issues Q&A

Can a part-time employee be classified as exempt under the FLSA? The
answer is yes, as long as the employee's job duties and salary meet the
FLSA requirements.
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Q: We have a full-time exempt employee who would like to reduce
her hours to part-time status. She will continue to perform many of the
same job duties, though some will be reassigned to accommodate her
reduced hours. We are planning to cut her pay as a result of these
changes. Can we still classify her as an exempt employee?

A: Possibly. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not
differentiate between full- and part-time employees or require that
employees work a specific number of hours in order to be classified as

Rather, employees generally are considered exempt from the FLSA
minimum wage and overtime requirements because of the nature of their
job duties and the fact they generally are paid on a salary basis. So, in
order to maintain the exemption for this employee, you must be able to
show that her job duties still meet one of the exempt classifications and
that she is paid a salary that meets the required minimum.

Whether the employee continues to meet the job duties test may depend
on what duties are reassigned. For example, say she is currently
classified as an administrative exempt employee because she is your
human resources manager. If you plan to reassign routine payroll and
recordkeeping functions to other employees, she likely would continue to
meet the administrative exemption.

However, the result may be different if she is currently classified as an
executive employee because she customarily directs the work of four
employees. If you plan to reassign three of her subordinates to other
managers, she likely would not meet the executive exemption any

To satisfy the salary basis test, the employee must regularly receive a
predetermined amount of compensation each pay period on a weekly, or
less frequent, basis of at least $455 a week (equivalent to $23,660 a
year). For example, if the employee currently makes $1,000 a week as a
full-time employee, and you reduce her pay to $500 a week because she
is working half of her regular hours (and necessarily performing fewer job
duties), her salary still will meet the exempt requirements.

This amount cannot be subject to reduction because of variations in the
quality or quantity of work performed. In addition, she must receive the
full salary for any week she performs any work, without regard to the
number of days or hours worked (although a few exceptions apply for
full-day absences).

So, for example, you generally could not pay her less than her normal
part-time salary in a week that she works fewer than her regular hours.
In addition, you could not pay her on an hourly basis (unless she
qualifies for the computer-related exemption and is paid at least $27.63
an hour).

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Subscribers to the Personnel Policy Manual and HR Policy Answers on
CD can find more information on exempt employees and the salary basis
test in Hours of Work, Chapter 207, note 32.

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Attendance and Punctuality
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2004 FLSA Regulations: Understanding the Issues

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