Fair Labor Standards Act Exemptions – Overtime


Most employers must pay the majority of their employees overtime pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, there are some categories of employees that qualify for Fair Labor Standards Act exemptions from overtime. Section 213(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for several exemptions from its overtime requirements. 29 USC 213 Thus, although employers must pay employees minimum wage in situations where these exemptions apply, they are not required to pay overtime. (See also Minimum wage and overtime exemptions) Each exemption has its own requirements that must be met for an employee to qualify.





Rail carrier exemption

Any employee engaged in the operation a rail carrier subject to 49 USC 101-119 may be exempt. 29 USC 13(b)(2)



Railway Labor Act exemption

Any employee of an air carrier subject to Title II of the Railway Labor Act, 45 USC 181 may be exempt. 29 USC 13(b)(3)



Outside dairy buyer exemption

Any employee working as an outside buyer of poultry, eggs, cream, or milk, in their raw or natural state may be exempt. 29 USC 13(b)(5)



Seaman exemption

Any employee working as a seaman may be exempt from overtime under the FLSA. 29 USC 13(b)(6) Seamen working on non-American vessels are also exempt from minimum wage requirements. 29 USC 213(a)(12) Visit our Seaman page to learn more about this exemption.



Local radio and television station exemption

Any employer may be exempt who works as an announcer, news editor, or chief engineer at a radio or television station whose major studio is located:

  • in a city or town with a population of 100,000 or less according to the Bureau of Census’s latest 10 year census figures, unless the city or town is part of a standard metropolitan statistical area, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget, that has a population greater than 100,000, or
  • in a city or town with a population of 25,000 or less, with is part of standard metropolitan area but is 40 airline miles from the main city in the metropolitan area.

29 USC 13(b)(9)



Motor vehicle dealership exemption

An employee may be exempt who:

  • works as a salesman, partsman, or mechanic,
  • primarily sells or services automobiles, trucks, or farm implements, and
  • works for a nonmanufacturing establishment that primarily sells the vehicles or implements to end users.

29 USC 13(b)(10)(A)



Watercraft salesman exemption

An employee may be exempt who:

  • works as a salesman
  • primarily sells trailers, boats, or aircraft, and
  • works for a nonmanufacturing establishment that primarily sells trailers, boats, or aircraft to end users.

29 USC 13(b)(10)(B)



Driver and driver’s helper local deliveries exemption

An employee may be exempt who:

  • works as a driver or driver’s helper
  • makes local deliveries
  • is paid on the basis of trip rates or other delivery payment plan approved by the DOL.

In determining whether to approve an alternate delivery payment plan, the DOL considers whether the plan reduces the hours worked by employee to or below forty (40) hours in a workweek.

29 USC 13(b)(11)



Agricultural water access worker exemption

An employee may be exempt who works in agriculture or in connection with the operation or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs, or waterways that are not owned or operated for profit or that are operated on a sharecrop basis, and which are used exclusively for supplying and storing water, at least 90 percent of which was ultimately delivered for agricultural purposes during the preceding calendar year.

29 USC 13(b)(12)



Livestock auction worker exemption

An employee may be exempt who:

  • works primarily in agriculture in a particular workweek;
  • works for a farmer in raising livestock, and
  • as part of raising livestock, assists in livestock auctions

The exemption only applies to hours worked by the employee in livestock auction work. 29 USC 13(b)(14); 780.604



County elevator worker exemption

An employee may be exempt who works within the area of production by a country elevator, including country elevators that sell products and services used in farm operations, so long as no more than five employees work at the establishment in such operations. 29 USC 13(b)(14)



Maple sap worker exemption

An employee may be exempt who works in the processing of maple sap into sugar (other than refined sugar) or syrup. 29 USC 13(b)(15)



Produce worker exemption

An employee may be exempt who prepares fruits or vegetables for transportation or transports fruit or vegetables from the farm to the place where they will be first processed or marketed, so that location is in the same State. 29 USC 13(b)(16)(A)



Transportation of harvesters exemptions

An employee may be exempt who transports individuals who harvest fruits or vegetables between a farm and a location in the same State. 29 USC 13(b)(16)(B)



Taxicab driver exemption

Any employee may be exempt who works as a taxicab drivers. 29 USC 13(b)(17)



Fire protection and law enforcement exemption

An employee may be who works in fire protection for a public agency if fewer than five employees work for the public agency in fire protection in a workweek. Similarly, an employee may be exempt who works in law enforcement for a public agency if fewer than five employees work for the public agency in law enforcement in a workweek. 29 USC 13(b)(20)



Domestic service exemption

Any employee who resides and works in a household in domestic service may be exempt. 29 USC 13(b)(21)



Nonprofit educational institution exemption

An employee may be exempt who works with their spouse for a nonprofit educational institution to serve as the parents of children who are:

  • orphans or one of whose natural parents is deceased, or
  • enrolled at the institution and reside at the facility, if, while the children are in residence at the facility, the employee and spouse also reside at the facility, receive board and lodging without cost and are both compensate at an annual rate of not less than $10,000 on a cash basis.

29 USC 13(b)(24)



Movie theater exemption

An employee who works at a movie theater may be exempt. 29 USC 13(b)(27)



Forestry or lumbering operation exemption

An employee may be exempt who works for a forestry or lumbering operation with no more than eight (8) employees and who:

  • plants or tends trees,
  • cruises, surveys, or fell timber, or
  • prepares or transports logs or other forestry products to the mill, processing plant, railroad, or other transportation terminal.



Amusement or recreational establishment exemption

Any employee may be exempt who works for an amusement or recreational establishment located in a national park or national forest or on land in the National Wildlife Refuge System if the employees:

  • works for a private entity engaged in providing services or facilities in such locations, and
  • is paid overtime at a rate of one and a half times their regular rate for all hours worked in excess of fifty-six (56) hours in any workweek.

29 USC 13(b)(29)



Criminal investigator exemption

A criminal investigator who is paid availability pay as defined by 5 USC 5545a may be exempt. 29 USC 13(b)(30)