Exempt or Non-Exempt? That is the Question.

Are you an exempt employee? Of course you are, unless you’re not.

Often we are asked if our software can automatically determine an exempt position from a nonexempt one based on the position analysis questionnaire (PAQ) in our methodology.  It should be easy, right?

Well, permit me just a quick commercial for good algorithms.  Algorithms are the procedures for doing a mathematical operation, and a good algorithm is one that:

  1. Has a definitive purpose
  2. Uses specific inputs and outputs
  3. Makes effective use of resources
  4. Comes to conclusion.

So let’s look again at the problem;

Definite purpose – Check.  Determine exempt status.

Uses specific inputs and outputs – Oops.  Anybody look at the nine HTML pages on the DOL web site outlining the criteria for determining exempt status?   Aside from the salary level test (Any employee who makes less than $23,600/yr or $455/wk is nonexempt), every other category uses judgmental and nondeterministic language to define the additional criteria. In other words the ultimate criteria evaluations are subjective.

Makes effective use of resources – Perhaps.  If we could define the criteria, our technical staff is the best.

Comes to a conclusion – Not without applying all the exempt status criteria, which we can’t, or shouldn’t because of their subjective nature.

But we can help!

What we can do is utilize proven processes and software technology to evaluate key knowledge, skills, experience, and other required factors (15 captured in our proprietary methodology) to place a point value on each position and establish the non-grey zones for Exempt and Non-Exempt positions.  This narrows the list of positions to the “Grey Zone” where criteria for determining exempt status can be applied using the skill and expertise of HR.

The bottom line is we can certainly help you with the exempt and non-exempt status process, but any positions in the “Grey Zone” still must be evaluated against the exemption status tests.   The good news is this methodology applied rigorously will enhance the value and defensibility of your internal process.