The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Highly Compensated Learned Professional Exemption

Reference Number: MTAS-935
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: July 29, 2016
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Employees who meet the criteria below are bona fide highly compensated learned professional employees under DOL’s regulations.

  • Is the employee’s total annual non-discretionary compensation at least $100,000? (Effective December 1, 2016, the minimum salary level for highly compensated professionals is $134,004.)
  • Is the employee paid on a salary basis or on a fee basis a minimum of $455 per week exclusive of board, lodging or other facilities?
    • Is the employee paid on a salary basis? With certain limited exceptions he or she must:
      • Experience no reduction in salary for variations in the quality and quantity of work;
      • Experience no deduction for partial-day absences;
      • Receive each pay period a pre-determined amount constituting all or part of his or her compensation; or
      • Pay deductions are based on the principle of public accountability. 29 C.F.R. § 541.602.
    • Alternately, is the employee paid on a fee basis?
    • Or, is the employee one of the professionals — physicians, lawyers, teachers and film-making industry employees — exempted from the salary or fee basis test? (If yes, then the minimum salary or fee also does not apply.)
  • Does the employee regularly and customarily perform one or more exempt professional duties? 29 C.F.R. § 541.300.
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