The difference between exempt and non-exempt employees is based on the weekly salary and the nature of the work rather than the job title, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. White-collar workers are generally exempt, but check with the Department of Labor for verification.
Exempt workers earn a minimum weekly wage of $455 or an hourly compensation of $27.60; this is the threshold set in the overtime pay rules mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. These employees work in fields that are demonstrably administrative, executive, professional or computer-based, or they work in outside sales, adds the Department of Labor. The test for determining exempt status includes decision-making responsibilities, managerial responsibilities, working outside the office, programming or other computer work, and using specialized knowledge acquired through training for many years.
Non-exempt workers are typically defined as blue-collar and tend to perform repetitive work with their hands using physical skills and energy, states the Department of Labor. These include carpenters, electricians, police officers, firefighters, investigators, park rangers and paramedics.