Sponsors in the U.S. Senate have decided the Fair Labor Standards Act classification for IT workers is out of date, and should be revamped. Here’s what they’re proposing.
Right now, Section 13(a)(17) of the FLSA classifies computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers or other similarly skilled workers as exempt. To qualify for Section 13′s computer-employee exemption, the employee’s “primary duty” must consist of:
- the application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications
- the design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications
- the design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems, or
- a combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.
The problem: The exemption rules are several years old and don’t reflect changes in technology and the skills IT workers need. The Computer Professionals Update Act has been proposed to expand the existing computer-employee exemption and would apply to “any employee working in a computer or information technology occupation (including, but not limited to, work related to computers, information systems, components, networks, software, hardware, databases, security, internet, intranet, or websites) as an analyst, programmer, engineer, designer, developer, administrator, or other similarly skilled worker,” whose primary duty is:
- the application of systems, network or database analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine or modify hardware, software, network, database, or system functional specifications
- the design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing, securing, configuration, integration, debugging, modification of computer or information technology, or enabling continuity of systems and applications
- directing the work of individuals performing duties described in subparagraph (A) or (B), including training such individuals or leading teams performing such duties, or
- a combination of any of those duties.
The bill also includes a stipulation that an exempt IT worker would have to be compensated at an hourly rate of not less than $27.63 an hour.
The bill has been referred to committee, the step that precedes a full vote by the Senate.