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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Duties Test

What is the Duties Test?

The "duties test" is one way the FLSA distinguishes exempt from non-exempt employees. (See Salary Basis Test.) Some high-level, "white collar" employees are FLSA exempt, if their duties are "executive," "administrative," or "professional" (and if they are paid "on a salary basis"). Executives are high-level employees whose primary job duties are to make discretionary, organization-wide policy decisions. Administrators are high-level employees whose primary job duties are to provide organization-wide support services involving discretion and policy-making. Professionals are high-level employees who are doctors, lawyers, or in other highly educated occupations. Job titles are not determinative. Actual job duties are. Most employees who are engaged in the "production" aspects of their businesses or agencies (i.e., who are involved in making or providing goods or services) are not exempt executives, administrators, or professionals. For example, operational ("street level") police officers are often nonexempt.

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