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DOL/WHD RIN: 1235-AA39 Publication ID: Fall 2021 
Title: Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees  

WHD is reviewing the regulations at 29 CFR 541, which implement the exemption of bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements.

Agency: Department of Labor(DOL)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: 29 CFR 541   
Legal Authority: 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.    29 U.S.C. 213   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

One of the primary goals of this rulemaking would be to update the salary level requirement of the section 13(a)(1) exemption. A salary level test has been part of the regulations since 1938 and it has been long recognized that the best single test of the employer’s good faith in attributing to the employee’s services is the amount he pays for them. In prior rulemakings, the Department explained its commitment to update the standard salary level and Highly Compensated Employees (HCE) total compensation levels more frequently. Regular updates promote greater stability, avoid disruptive salary level increases that can result from lengthy gaps between updates and provide appropriate wage protection.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA, codified at 29 U.S.C. 213(a)(1), exempts any employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity or in the capacity of outside salesman (as such terms are defined and delimited from time to time by regulations of the Secretary, subject to the provisions of the [Administrative Procedure Act.]) The FLSA does not define the terms executive, administrative, professional, or outside salesman. However, pursuant to Congress’ grant of rulemaking authority, the Department issued regulations at 29 CFR part 541, defining the scope of the section 13(a)(1) exemptions. Congress explicitly delegated to the Secretary of Labor the power to define and delimit the specific terms of the exemptions through notice-and-comment rulemaking.


Alternatives will be developed in considering proposed revisions to the current regulations. The public will be invited to provide comments on the proposed revisions and possible alternatives.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The Department will prepare estimates of the anticipated costs and benefits associated with the proposed rule.



This action does not affect public health, safety, or the environment.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  04/00/2022 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions, Organizations  Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Amy DeBisschop
Director of the Division of Regulations, Legislation, and Interpretation
Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
200 Constitution Avenue NW, FP Building, Room S-3502,
Washington, DC 20210
Phone:202 693-0406