Q: Is our ministry employee exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as an "administrative" employee?

A: Salary level, salary basis, and job duties will be taken into consideration to decide if the administrative exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act applies.

To determine if the administrative exemption applies, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division will look at three issues: salary level, salary basis, and job duties.

Salary Level.* Your administrative employee must earn at least $455 per week ($23,660 per year for a full-year worker) to qualify for the exemption. Compensation may be paid biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly, but it must equal or exceed $455 a week. Check with your state's labor office to see if your state has rules that govern pay frequency.

*Note: A change to this salary level is currently on hold due to a court injunction. If the change is upheld by the court, the salary level will increase to $913 per week ($47,476 for a full-year worker). The change would also include an automatic increase to the salary threshold every three years to maintain the minimum salary level at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest wage census region.

Because the consequences of misapplying the administrative exemption can be costly, ministries are encouraged to seek a local attorney’s assistance when considering these questions and making a final determination.

Salary Basis. Your administrative employee must earn a salary. This means he or she receives a predetermined amount for any week in which work is performed, regardless of the quality or quantity of the work.

Job Duties. To qualify as an administrative employee, he or she must:

  • Primarily perform office or non-manual work directly related to the ministry’s management or general business operations.
  • Exercise discretion and independent judgment in making decisions with respect to significant matters.

If you think a particular position might qualify for the administrative exemption, it may be helpful to ask the following questions:

  • Does this employee spend more than half of his or her time performing office work directly related to managing other employees or general ministry operations?
  • Do this employee’s principal duties include considering various choices significant to the ministry and having the authority to select and implement an option?

Because the consequences of misapplying the administrative exemption can be costly, ministries are encouraged to seek a local attorney’s assistance when considering these questions and making a final determination.

Recommended Resources

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*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.

The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.