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Exempt vs. Non-Exempt


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes standards to determine overtime pay.  The determination of "exempt" or "non-exempt" is made by the Western Kentucky University Human Resources team in accordance with the established FLSA criteria.

Non-Exempt Status

Western Kentucky University is required by law to pay non-exempt staff for all hours worked beyond 40 hours in a work week at the rate of one-and-one-half times their regular hourly wage.

Exempt Status

Staff performing exempt work are not covered by the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA and are not eligible to receive overtime pay.

How is an exempt classification identified?

There are multiple key factors and risks to be considered when classifying a position exempt or non-exempt and several categories identified for exempt status.  Our HR Compensation team is trained in making the applicable decision for positions at the University.

Some decision factors include, but are not limited to:
  • Salary basis must be at a rate not less than $35,568 annually ($684 per week).
  • Management decisions such as directing the work of at least two full-time employees and making decisions to hire or fire employees
  • Non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the University and exercising discretion and independent judgement with respect to the running of the business. 
  • Performance of work requiring advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.
  • The following items are not automatic determining factors: 
    • Working with high budget items
    • Requiring a Bachelor’s Degree
    • Being paid a salary
    • Having a title of manager/supervisor/administrator
    • Having a similar title to other exempt University employees
    • Making day-to-day decisions

For more information visit the Department of Labor website.

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 Last Modified 1/11/21