Emergencies – FLSA Exemptions


An exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not lose his or her exemption by performing nonexempt work because of an emergency. Emergencies do not include events that are within the control of the employer and those that the employer can address in the normal course of business. Instead, emergencies occur rarely and include those events that cannot be reasonably anticipated. They may include, amongst other things, threats to safety, a cessation of operations, or a serious threat to the employer’s property. 29 CFR 541.706



Examples of emergency work:

  • a mine superintendent who helps dig out workers trapped in a collapsed mine
  • replacing a nonexempt worker during the first day of an illness where there are no other alternatives due to the small size of the employer
  • repairing equipment due to damage caused by an reasonably unanticipated accident

Examples of non-emergency work:

  • assisting nonexempt employees with heavy workloads or rush orders
  • regular repair and cleaning equipment even when necessary to prevent an accident or damage

29 CFR 541.706


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