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Executive: an executive exempt employee has the authority to hire, fire, promote, set policy, and supervises two or more full-time employees (or four or more half-time employees, or at least one full-time and two half-time employees) in managing an enterprise or subdivision of the enterprise - examples given in the regulations include the president of a company or the head of a major division of an enterprise - also, a department head with hiring and firing authority can qualify - if the employee has no actual hiring or firing authority, but is highly influential in such decisions, the executive exemption can still apply.
Administrative: performs specialized or technical office or non-manual work related to management policies or general business operations of an enterprise - the decisions such an employee makes are of substantial importance to the company as a whole - their work supports the organization, not individual customers - has a great deal of discretion and independent judgment in day-to-day duties - typical examples include personnel director, vice president of operations, head buyer, head dispatcher, or department head.
Professional: performs original and creative work or work requiring advanced knowledge normally acquired through a prolonged course of specialized academic study; a professional exempt employee's work cannot be standardized with respect to time - typical examples are physician, attorney, CPA, engineer, architect, scientist (geologist, botanist, physicist, zoologist, chemist, etc.), registered nurse, and teacher at any educational institution.
New regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor became effective on August 23, 2004 and January 1, 2020 - for more information, see the article "Focus on the DOL White-Collar Exemption Regulations" in this book.
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