Overtime Pay And The FLSA: What Is The Salary Test?

Sep 13, 2018

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law in the United States that sets standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, and other employment-related issues. It was enacted to protect workers' rights and ensure fair compensation for their work.

Understanding Overtime Pay

Overtime pay is additional compensation provided to employees who work more than the standard 40 hours per week. Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees are entitled to receive overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for each hour worked beyond the standard 40 hours.

The Salary Test

One of the key factors in determining whether an employee is eligible for overtime pay is the salary test. The salary test helps employers classify employees as exempt or non-exempt from receiving overtime pay. To pass the salary test, an employee must meet certain salary requirements set by the FLSA.

1. Minimum Salary Requirement

The FLSA requires that employees earn a minimum salary to be exempt from overtime pay. As of January 1, 2021, the minimum salary required to qualify for exemption is $684 per week or $35,568 per year. This means that employees earning less than this threshold are generally considered non-exempt and eligible for overtime pay.

2. Job Duties

In addition to the minimum salary requirement, the FLSA also evaluates an employee's job duties to determine their eligibility for exemption. Certain job duties, such as executive, administrative, professional, or outside sales responsibilities, may qualify an employee for exemption, even if they do not meet the minimum salary requirement.

3. Highly Compensated Employees

The FLSA also includes a provision for highly compensated employees (HCEs). HCEs are employees who earn at least $107,432 annually and perform at least one of the exempt duties outlined by the FLSA. They may be exempt from overtime pay based on their job responsibilities and compensation.

Consequences of Failing the Salary Test

If an employee fails to meet the salary test requirements, they are considered non-exempt and must be paid overtime for any hours worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. Failure to provide overtime pay to eligible employees can lead to legal consequences, including back pay, fines, and potentially damaging lawsuits.

Consulting with Employment Lawyers

Given the complexity of the FLSA and the various exemptions, it is essential for employers and employees to seek legal advice from employment lawyers. An experienced employment lawyer can help determine the proper classification of employees, ensure compliance with the FLSA, and minimize legal risks.


The salary test plays a crucial role in determining whether an employee is eligible for overtime pay under the FLSA. Understanding the minimum salary requirements and the job duties exemption criteria is essential for both employers and employees. Compliance with the FLSA not only protects employee rights but also helps maintain a fair and harmonious working environment.

George Lan
Thanks for sharing this valuable information about overtime pay and the FLSA! It's crucial for employees to understand their rights when it comes to fair compensation.
Nov 11, 2023
Tony Frey
This article provides valuable insights into the salary test for overtime pay under the FLSA. Essential information for employees!
Oct 16, 2023