SALARY EXEMPT: Meaning, Requirements & Difference

salary exempt

If you’re a new boss or adding a new job to your company, you might be wondering how to classify employees’ salary status. In this article, we will learn more about salary exempt employees, their requirements, salary exempt vs. non exempt, and, Minimum Salary for Exempt Employees in 2023

Salary Exempt

Salary exempt status does not entitle someone to overtime. This depends on how much money the salaried worker makes, what they do for a living, and what their job requires. Salary exemption means that the worker doesn’t have to follow many laws that protect workers, like the right to a minimum wage, the right to overtime pay, the right to paid rest breaks, and the right to unpaid meal breaks. If you get a salary, your boss can make you work more than 8 hours a day or more than 5 days a week without giving you any extra money or breaks.

Also, salary exemptions are usually narrowly defined and have a lot of strict rules. Many employers mistakenly classify their workers as “salary exempt” when they shouldn’t. Moreover, if you are wrongly categorized as exempt, you could be owed a lot of money, such as unpaid minimum wages and overtime wages, meal and rest period premium payments, and other civil penalties. Talk to one of our lawyers if you need help with your case.

In the state of California, people who are paid a “salary” are often not taxable. This means they don’t have to get at least the state minimum wage for any hours they work.that they are not eligible for overtime pay, and that they are not required to be provided with guaranteed breaks for meals and rest. But just having a “salary” is not enough to be exempt under the law, and employers often misclassify employees by not following the two-part test for the salary exemption:

  •  receiving the minimum salary
  •   performing exempt duties.

Salary Exempt Employees

A “salary exempt employee” is a term for a type of worker that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lists. These employees don’t get overtime pay and don’t qualify for the minimum wage. This is because of the kinds of jobs they do. When an employee is exempt, it usually means that they don’t have to get overtime pay. Salary Exempt employees are different from nonexempt employees. Exempt employees are paid on a salary rather than an hourly basis and work in professional, administrative, executive, outside sales, and computer-related fields.

In any workplace, there are two types of employees: salary exempt and non exempt. Employees who are paid on a salary are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime compensation regulations. This is due to the fact that exempt individuals are paid a salary rather than an hourly rate and work in positions classified as executive or professional. Salary  Exempt employees frequently earn year-end bonuses to compensate for the nature of their work as well as any extra effort. The requirements for each state are different, but the FLSA says that a salary exempt job is any of the following:

  • Professional
  • Administrative
  • Executive
  • Outside Sales
  • Computer-related

In addition to the main types of salary exempt employees, other types of employees may also be exempt from getting overtime pay. This group includes people who work on farms, in movie theaters, at certain non-metropolitan radio and TV stations, as taxi drivers, and on railroads, motor carriers, and American ships. This list also includes people who work in retail or service and get paid based on how much they sell.

Salary Exempt Requirements

The annual salary requirement for exempt positions is $23,660 (or $455 per week) under overtime laws in effect since 2004. A responsibilities test is also used to assess if personnel earning more than the salary threshold must be categorized as nonexempt from overtime, including tests for meeting the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions. Also, highly compensated employees (HCEs) whose total salary is at least $100,000 are exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements if they pass separate HCE duties test with a lower bar than the test for employees paid the standard salary level.

Unless salary exempt, employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act must get time-and-a-half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week

“Earning a certain salary is one of three things an employee must do to be exempted from overtime under the so-called “white collar exemptions,” said Sushma Tripathi, vice president for workforce planning and benefits consulting at ADP. These three requirements comprise the salary test’s two prongs as well as the duties test.

The Three Salary Exemption Requirement Test

  • The salary basis test. One of the exempt requirements is this. The employee must be given a predefined and fixed payment that cannot be reduced due to differences in the quality or quantity of work completed.
  • Salary level test. Another exempt condition is that The amount of salary paid must satisfy a minimum stated amount of $23,660, unless and until that value is raised upward.
  • Duties test. The employee’s work responsibilities must be mainly executive, administrative, or professional in nature, as defined by the requirements.

According to Sushma Tripathi, it is entirely possible for an employee to meet the salary exempt requirements of the salary basis and income level tests but still not qualify as an exempt employee under the FLSA because the individual may not meet the requirements of the duties test. Salary exempt employees must make more than $23,660 and meet one of the standard duties test exceptions.  These salary exempt requirements don’t apply to people who work in outside sales, as teachers, or in law or medicine

Minimum Salary for Exempt Employees 2023

In 2023, the minimum salary for exempt employees in Washington State will go up to $15.74 per hour. Even more so, the minimum salary is higher in Seattle. The minimum salary for large eemployers in Seattle will go up to $18.69 per hour on January 1, 2023. A large employer is one with more than 500 workers around the world. Large employers must pay this minimum wage, even if they contribute to health insurance. The new Seattle minimum salary will also be $18.69 per hour for small businesses with 500 or fewer exempt employees around the world in 2023. One exception is that small employers can pay a minimum salary of $16.50 per hour instead if they pay at least $2.19 per hour toward their employees’ health insurance and/or if the employee earns at least $2.19 per hour in tips that are reported.

The new state minimum salary requirements for exempt employees will increase again on January 1, 2023. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) uses a multiplier of the state minimum wage to figure out what the minimum thresholds are. A non-exempt worker at a small business with 1 to 50 employees must now make at least 1.75 times the minimum wage, or $1,101.80 per week. For companies with 51 or more workers, an exempt employee must still make 2 times the minimum wage, or $1,259.20 per week.

In 2023, Washington employers will have to follow the state thresholds instead of the federal ones, since the state thresholds are better. The threshold multiplier will go up slowly until it is 2.5 times the minimum wage in 2028. After that, increases will depend on how much the minimum wage has gone up or down because of inflation.

Salary Exempt vs Non Exempt

salary Exempt and salary nonexempt: You’ve probably seen these terms on job applications, seen them in job ads, or heard them in conversation. But if you’re like most individuals, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. Do you even know what employees who are exempted are not required to do?

Let’s start from scratch. Employers are required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to categorize jobs as salary exempt or non exempt. FLSA laws and restrictions apply to non-exempt workers, but not to exempt workers. 

#1. Salary Exempt

Salary Exempt employees are not entitled to the minimum wage, overtime pay, or other rights and protections afforded to nonexempt employees. Companies must pay a salary instead of an hourly wage for exempt employees. Only executive, supervisory, professional, and outside sales positions are often exempt.

#2. Salary Non Exempt

Salary Non exempt employees, as the name implies, are not exempt from FLSA responsibilities. Workers in this group must be paid no less than the federal minimum wage for each hour worked and must get overtime compensation of at least one and a half times their hourly rate for any hours worked in excess of 40 per week.

#3. Tax Liability Differences

We all pay income-based taxes, thus exempt and nonexempt employees are taxed the same. All pay for both types of workers is “earned income” and must be taxed based on the worker’s tax bracket. It makes no difference whether income is made by the hour or as an annual salary; income is income.

#4. Overtime Implications

In general, salary exempt personnel are expected to dedicate the number of hours required to fulfill their individual jobs, whether that involves 35 or 55 hours per week. Their salary is unaffected by actual hours worked. Exempt employees are not compensated for working more than 40 hours per week; they are compensated for completing their work. Salary  Nonexempt employees, on the other hand, must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per workweek, hence it generally benefits businesses to limit nonexempt employees’ hours.

#5. Workers’ Rights and Benefits Implications

In general, salary nonexempt employees have stronger legal protection than exempt employees. Even so, most firms handle exempt and nonexempt employees in the same way. The right to a safe and healthy work environment, the right to equal employment opportunities, and the rights granted by the Family and Medical Leave Act and federal child labor statutes are the principal components of federal legislation that relate to the workplace. These laws apply to both exempt and nonexempt employees.

#6. Unemployment Implications

Although unemployment benefits vary by state, both salary exempt and nonexempt employees can normally claim unemployment benefits. To find out exactly what those benefits are, contact your state’s Department of Labor.

Salary Exempt vs. Salary Non Exempt , so Which Is Better?

That’s up to you. Some workers choose non-exempt jobs to get compensated for every hour. Some people like the freedom that comes with a salary job. For example, most non exempt workers will have to follow stricter rules about things like their free time.

But, nonexempt workers must take breaks at specific times and are more thoroughly monitored. Because exempt employees must complete their tasks regardless of time, they usually earn more. If the job requires staying late or coming in early, exempt employees are often expected to do just that. Employees who aren’t exempt from working the set number of hours usually only work those hours.

What Does Salaried Exempt Mean?

Exempt employees are paid a salary rather than an hourly wage. They are not eligible for overtime compensation and are not entitled to it. Exempt employees earn a minimum of $35,568 per year and are typically experienced professionals in white-collar jobs.

What Is the Difference Between Salaried and Exempt?

Salaried: Someone who gets the same amount of money every week, no matter how many hours they work. As we’ve already talked about, exempt employees must be paid a wage. Non-exempt workers can get a fixed wage or a variable workweek.

What Is Salaried but Non Exempt?

“Salaried, nonexempt” means the company considers the employee nonexempt under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they pays a weekly salary that is at least minimum wage for all hours worked.

What Is the Lowest Salary to Be Exempt?

What is the California minimum wage for exempt employees?

  • As of January 1, 2023, US workers must earn $684 per week or $35,568 per year to be exempted.
  • According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all exempt employees must be paid at least $684 each week.

Is It Better to Be Exempt or Nonexempt?

The difference between exempt and non-exempt workers. Non-exempt workers are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets minimum pay and overtime rules.


  1. OVERTIME PAY: Meaning, Formula & How to Calculate It
  2. WHAT IS HOLIDAY PAY?: Who’s Entitled to its Benefits
  3. How to Calculate Time and a Half.
  4. NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEE: Meaning, Benefits, and Difference
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