The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued an opinion letter on the exempt status of a purchasing agent and whether they qualify for the administrative exemption under the FLSA. The letter held that these employees are, in fact, exempt. Remember, in order to be an exempt, an administrative employee must be paid at least $455 per week, perform work “directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer,” and “includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.” In analyzing purchasing agents, the letter indicated that they definitely work in the performance of management or general business operations and they exercise discretion and independent judgment. These PAs have the authority to place purchase orders less than $25,000 without management approval.
The company requesting this opinion letter now has the comfort of knowing that they’re doing things properly. Opinion letters are usually forwarded by a company’s attorneys. If you ever seek such an opinion letter, please contact one of the members at the Worklaw® Network.