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What Type Of Jobs Are Exempt From Overtime Under FLSA’s Computer Employee Exemption?

Generally, employees are entitled to overtime pay for all hours over 40 in a given work week. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) allows certain employees to be exempt from overtime pay including an exemption for some computer professionals. The exemption, however, only applies to computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, and other similar workers who meet the job duties test and who are paid at least $455 per week in salary or at least $27.63 per hour for hourly employees. Unfortunately, many employers incorrectly classify employees who work with computers as exempt when, in fact, their job duties do not place them in the exemption.

To qualify for the computer employee exemption, the Department of Labor states that the following tests must be met:

1. The employee must be paid either at least $455 per week in salary or at least $27.63 per hour;

2. The employee must be employed as computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, and other similar workers who meet the job duties test;

3. The employee’s primary job duty must include:
a. the application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications;
b. The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;
c. The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or d. A combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.

The term “primary duty” means the principal, main, major or most important duty that the employee performs.

The computer employee exemption does not apply to employees who are engaged in the manufacture or repair of computer hardware and related equipment. It also does not apply to employees whose work is highly dependent upon, or facilitated by, the use of computers and computer software programs (e.g., engineers, drafters and others skilled in computer aided design software), but who are not primarily engaged in computer systems analysis and programming or other similarly skilled computer-related occupations identified in the primary duties test described above.

If you have questions about whether you have been properly classified for overtime purposes, please contact Martin & Martin.