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Who is an exempt professional under the FLSA?

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in Human Resources,Overtime Labor Laws

Question: We are a social services organization. After employees make home visits to clients, they must file reports within 24 hours, even if that means they must work on weekends. Most of these employees have two-year associate degrees; some have bachelor’s degrees. Can we treat these social workers as exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

Answer: Probably not. Final white-collar regulations, which were issued in 2004, do recognize that new scientific and learned professions emerge over time.

However, the regs also note that the key to recognizing a new scientific or learned profession is licensing or a board certification, after an employee completes a specialized academic degree program. Example: Certified physician assistants, a relatively new occupation, may be professionals.

On the other hand, the regs specify that paralegals aren’t exempt professionals because one can become a paralegal with a general undergraduate degree.

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