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Overtime Exemptions for Computer Professionals

Traditionally, there have been three main categories of workers who are exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act – professional, executive, and administrative employees. Several years ago, the Department of Labor added another exemption, this time for employees in computer-related occupations. As the computer industry has grown, the number of occupations and industries calling for employees in computer-related fields has mushroomed. Not everyone who works with software or computers is exempt from overtime, however. As with the other overtime exemptions, specific requirements must be met before someone is properly considered exempt. Read below for more information about what it takes to be classified as exempt from overtime as an employee in a computer-related occupation. If you think you are being misclassified at work and wrongly denied overtime pay, contact labor and employment attorney Kay Bayless in Princeton, West Virginia.

Department of Labor Rules for the Computer Employee Overtime Exemption

This exemption is basically for computer programmers or those who work in software. In other words, employees engaged in the manufacture or repair of computer hardware and related equipment are not exempt. Also, just because an employee depends on the use of computers to do his or her work, this does not make the employee exempt. For example, engineers and drafters would not fall under this exemption just because they use computer-aided design software in their professions, although they may be exempt under the general professional exemption.

The FLSA exemption applies to any employee who is a:

  • Computer systems analyst
  • Computer programmer
  • Software engineer
  • Other similarly-skilled worker

As with most overtime exemptions, it is not the job title that controls, but the worker’s actual duties which determine whether he or she is exempt. In this case, an exempt worker is one of the above whose primary (main, major or most important) duty includes one of the following:

  • 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 any of the above which requires the same level of skills.

Salary Basis Test Applies

The so-called “salary basis test” also applies to computer professionals like it does with professional, executive and administrative employees. In order to be exempt, the worker must meet the primary duty test outlined above and also be paid a salary of at least $455 per week. However, the worker may be paid hourly rather than on salary and still be exempt from overtime, so long as that hourly rate is at least $27.63 per hour.

Make Sure You Get the Overtime Pay You Have Earned

Again, it is important not to rely on the job title or job description but to look closely at the duties the employee actually performs, and in particular the employee’s main or primary duty. If you think you have been misclassified as an exempt computer employee, you may be able to recover back pay plus interest for overtime hours you should have been paid for but weren’t. In southern West Virginia, contact the Bayless Law Firm to recover unpaid overtime with the help of an experienced labor and employment law attorney.

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