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Can a part-time employee be exempt?

May 27, 2022 | posted by Abacus Payroll
Payroll Q&A

Are you running a business with employees that work overtime hours? If so, it is important to understand what it means when an employee is exempt and whether or not a part-time employee can be considered exempt.

The penalties for incorrectly classifying employees can be steep. Here’s what you need to know.

Classifying an Employee as Exempt

For an employer, to classify an employee as exempt would be to specify that the employee can be paid a set salary and be asked to work extra hours without being entitled to overtime pay. The nature of “exempt” status is that employees can be expected to work the number of hours necessary to get the job done and will get paid a set salary, regardless of overtime.

Nonexempt employees are to be paid an overtime compensation of 1.5 times their normal pay rate for every hour they work over their allotted 40 per week. The Department of Labor has updated Fact Sheets and specific information on exempt vs. non-exempt employees and positions.


Can a Part-Time Employee be Exempt?

Yes, a part-time employee may be classified as exempt, as long as the minimum salary and duty requirements are still met and the minimum salary cannot be prorated when an exempt employee works part-time.

While part-time employees can be exempt, which would mean that they are expected to work the number of hours necessary to get their job done, if the position is actually a full-time role, it should be classified as such. Taking advantage of exempt part-time employees is a quick way to cause morale to suffer. It is important to be completely transparent with your employees and what is expected of them.

If a part-time employee’s hours fluctuate dramatically, you should carefully consider whether “exempt” is the right classification. If you reclassify an employee as nonexempt, they must be paid overtime where applicable.


Overtime and HR

This topic is an example of a question that can be answered by Abacus Payroll’s HR Help Center. With a monthly subscription to HR Support or HR On-Demand, you can also gain access to additional resources that can help you manage overtime at your small business:

  • Overtime rate calculator
  • Sample policies on overtime, flexible scheduling, on-call, timekeeping, and more.
  • State specific overtime laws
  • On-demand training for paying exempt employees, understanding FLSA, and handling complex wage & hour calculations
  • Downloadable Wage and Hour checklist
  • Letter templates for employee reclassification
  • Comprehensive guides on calculating overtime, common employee handbook issues, alternative work weeks, FLSA changes, White Collar exemption, and more.


If you are unsure if a part-time employee should be classified as exempt or have any other questions regarding payroll, overtime, and part-time employees, contact an Abacus Payroll advisor today.


Additional Resources:

About the Author: Abacus Payroll

Abacus Payroll, Inc. is a leading provider of payroll solutions for businesses of all sizes. Whether yours is a family-owned small business or a national corporation, we provide payroll, tax and other financial services on time and at an affordable price. Unlike other payroll providers, Abacus Payroll will assign your very own payroll specialist who will understand your payroll needs inside and out. So no more speaking to a different person each time, no more sitting on hold for hours and most importantly no more missed deadlines! Contact us today to see how we can help your business. You can count on us.