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Anne_C, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  15 Years Litigation Experience
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Research and identify the salient features of the Fair ...

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Research and identify the salient features of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Provide a definition of exempt and nonexempt employees. State at least three criteria that differentiate an exempt and nonexempt employee. Research and discuss the proposed changes to the FLSA — the first real changes since 1938. How do these modifications differ from the 1938 law? How will the status of exempt and nonexempt employees be altered? Do you think these changes benefit employees or the employer? Explain. What are the controversies associated with these modifications? Include the union's objections. Which do you prefer — the current FLSA law or the proposed changes? Explain by giving valid reasons.


Thank you for asking for JustAnswer's assistance with this matter. There were significant changes to the FLSA in 2003. The most recent changes to the FLSA were in 2007 and related to child labor laws.

I addressed both sets of changes in my answer.


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor standards for both full time and part time workers in the United States, including all private employers and government employers. The FLSA'S standards are the basic standards that an employer must meet. States may enact higher standards for wages, overtime and other components of the FLSA so long as those state laws also meet FLSA standards.

Exempt employees are employees who do not have to be paid overtime[2]. An exempt employee must make at least $455 a week[3]. Prior to the 2003, an exempt employee had to make at least $155 a week[4].

The executive exemption applies to an employee who manages an enterprise, directs the work of at least two other employees, and has the authority to hire and fire employees. Prior to 2003, the standards also stated that an exempt employee could not spend more than 20% of his or her time on non-exempt work, or 40% in a retailer[5].

The administrative exemption applies to a person who assists in managing or running a business, or a customer's business. The position has to be one of importance requiring skill and training. Prior to 2003, this exemption also applied to the administrative assistants of executives, and the standards also stated that an exempt employee could not spend more than 20% of his or her time on non-exempt work, or 40% in a retailer[6].

The professional exemption applies to employees that usually have advanced degrees whose work requires the exercise of judgment and discretion. Prior to 2003, the standards also stated that an exempt employee could not spend more than 20% of his or her time on non-exempt work, or 40% in a retailer; and that the times for performing the work could not be standardized[7].

The creative professional exemption applies to artists and persons involved in creative endeavors. This did not exist in 2003.

The computer professional exemption applies to computer hardware and software designers and programmers. This did not exist in 2003.

There is also an exemption for outside sales persons, and highly compensated employees making over $100,000 a year who also engage in at least one administrative task. This did not exist in 2003.

In 2007, the Department of Labor proposed significant changes to child labor laws. The FLSA would be changed to state that poultry slaughtering plants, forklift passengers, firefighting, and loading compactors and balers was too hazardous for anyone under 18[8]. 14 and 15 years olds would be allowed to work in advertising, banking and technology[9]. These changes are significant to children. Prior to 2003, hazardous activities did account for an alarming amount of life-altering injuries - or death - to children.

The modifications to the FLSA in large part benefited employers, because it substantially broadened the definitions of exempt employees. Prior to 2003, for example, whether or not someone working with computers was exempt or non-exempt was decided on a case-by-case basis, under the administrative exemption. Often times, the administrative exemption did not apply. Furthermore, the changes to the FLSA eliminated the 20%/40% time on non-exempt work, meaning that many people who work in retail stores as managers, and in restaurants as managers, now work a substantial amount of time doing non-exempt work, without being paid for it.

Unions objected to these changes on the basis that over 8 million employees would lose their eligibility for overtime, including technical writers and practical nurses. The changes were made over the union's objections.










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