What is Non-exempt Employee?

Non-exempt employee refers to an employee entitled to overtime pay and minimum wage such as blue-collar, construction, semi-skilled and maintenance workers. 

Hire with remarkable speed and efficiency
Applicant Tracking, Recruitment Marketing, Sourcing and Talent CRM software are powerful alone, but unstoppable when used together!
Request a demo


Non-exempt employee definition

A nonexempt employee is a category of employee as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in the United States. The primary characteristic of a nonexempt employee is their eligibility for overtime pay and minimum wage such as with blue-collar, construction, semi-skilled, and maintenance workers.

Key aspects of non-exempt employees

This group of employees is covered by the rules and regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and some of their key aspects are: 

Overtime Eligibility: Nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay. According to FLSA guidelines, they must be paid one and a half times their regular hourly rate for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek.

Hourly Wage or Salary: They can be paid on an hourly basis or receive a salary. However, their pay must meet or exceed the federal minimum wage, and they must receive overtime pay as required.

Time Tracking: Employers are required to keep accurate records of nonexempt employees' work hours to ensure proper compensation, especially for overtime.

Job Duties and Salary Threshold: Whether an employee is nonexempt depends on their job duties and salary. The FLSA sets specific criteria for exemption, which include executive, professional, and administrative roles that meet certain duties tests and are paid at or above a specified salary threshold. Employees who do not meet these criteria are considered non-exempt.

Rest and Meal Breaks: While the FLSA doesn't require meal or rest breaks, if they are provided, short breaks (usually 20 minutes or less) must be paid. Meal breaks (typically 30 minutes or more) can be unpaid, provided the employee is completely relieved of duties during the break.

It's important to note that state laws may have additional requirements or higher standards than the FLSA. For example, some states have a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage and may have different overtime rules.

Employers must comply with both federal and state laws, adhering to the rules that provide the greater benefit to the employee. Nonexempt status ensures that employees in lower-wage and less senior positions are fairly compensated for their time, especially when working long hours.

Do you use a modern recruitment software? If not, you're missing out. See how your life can be easier. Start your free 14-day TalentLyft trial.

Start my free trial