As most employers know, the FLSA provides a computer professional cxemption; however, this tends to be one of the most misunderstood and misapplied exemptions.For an employee to qualify for the computer professional exemption, the following criteria must be met:
- The employee must be compensated either on a salary or fee basis at a rate not less than $455.00 per week or, if compensated on an hourly basis, at a rate of not less than $27.63 per hour.
- The employee must be employed as a computer systems analysis, computer programmer, software engineer, or other similarly skilled worker in the computer field performing the duties as described below:
- The employee’s primary duty must consist of:
- the application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications;
- 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;
- the design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or
- a combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance which requires the same level of skills.
This exemption does not include employees who are engaged in the manufacture or repair of computer hardware and related equipment. Further, employees whose work is highly dependent or facilitated by the use of a computer or computer software programs but who are not primarily engaged in computer systems analysis and programming or other similarly skilled occupations are also not exempt. Additionally, help desk employees are generally not considered to be exempt. Rather, this exemption is very specific and is specifically designed to only apply to certain IT professionals. Accordingly, we recommend that all employers review their IT departments to ensure proper classification of their employees.