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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I am a hourly paid employee to a psychiatrist and a

Customer Question

I am a hourly paid employee to a psychiatrist and a psychologist. I am the only staff member in the office. Although I am considered the office manager, I have no staff under my direction (no other employees). Employer is wanting to switch me from hourly to salary to save them money. Am I considered a non exempt employee?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 11 months ago.

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to be exempt an employee must (a) be paid at least $23,600 per year ($455 per week), and (b) be paid on a salary basis, and also (c) perform exempt job duties.

I'll assume you make the minimum amount of salary, so the next part is the salary basis test. Generally, an employee is paid on a salary basis if s/he has a "guaranteed minimum" amount of money s/he can count on receiving for any work week in which s/he performs "any" work. This amount need not be the entire compensation received, but there must be some amount of pay the employee can count on receiving in any work week in which s/he performs any work.

An employee who meets the salary level tests and also the salary basis tests is exempt only if s/he also performs exempt job duties. These FLSA exemptions are limited to employees who perform relatively high-level work.

The Regulatory definition provides that exempt administrative job duties are

(a) office or nonmanual work, which is
(b) directly related to management or general business operations of the employer or the employer's customers, and
(c) a primary component of which involves the exercise of independent judgment and discretion about
(d) matters of significance.

The administrative exemption is designed for relatively high-level employees whose main job is to "keep the business running." Administrative employees provide "support" to the operational or production employees. They are "staff" rather than "line" employees.

To be exempt under the administrative exemption, the "staff" or "support" work must be office or nonmanual, and must be for matters of significance. Clerical employees perform office or nonmanual support work but are not administratively exempt. Nor is administrative work exempt just because it is financially important, in the sense that the employer would experience financial losses if the employee fails to perform competently. Administratively exempt work typically involves the exercise of discretion and judgment, with the authority to make independent decisions on matters which affect the business as a whole or a significant part of it.

Your office manager duties could be consistent with the "administrative" exemption from overtime, depending on the tasks you do - if you handle everything to keep the office running from paperwork to payroll, ordering, accounting/bookkeeping, etc. However, in order to qualify for the exemption, you must be "primarily engaged" in administrative tasks. Primarily engaged would mean more then 50% of the time. There is no requirement that you supervise staff to meet an administrative exemption.

Bot***** *****ne, I think it will come down to the scope of your job duties. Title alone isn't enough to classify you as exempt. But if you're really running everything in the office, as opposed to say, just filing some papers and doing light typing, I would say you meet the administrative exemption.

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