Nonexempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act are workers who are not paid a salary based on executive, professional or administrative job duties, explains FindLaw. Most employees paid by the hour are nonexempt. Under FLSA rules, these employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage and receive overtime pay for time worked beyond 40 hours in a week.
Nonexempt workers must be paid time and a half for overtime hours, while exempt employees paid a salary are not protected by the FLSA and can work an unlimited number of hours without triggering overtime pay, notes FindLaw. Employees can file claims against employers with the U.S. Department of Labor to obtain back pay in situations where employers have failed to pay overtime. Employers that improperly classify nonexempt employees as exempt or fail to pay overtime properly can face penalties and fines.
In comparison, as of 2015 an employee is classified as exempt and not protected by the FLSA if the employee makes a salary of at least $23,600 a year and performs high-level duties in the company in executive, professional and administrative areas, explains FindLaw. Some types of jobs are considered exempt by definition under the law while other jobs are specifically excluded. Some types of employees, such as truck drivers, are governed by laws other than the FLSA.