DOL ruling allows for reporters, photographers to be treated as salaried employees


The United States Department of Labor published four opinion letters in response to requests for an opinion regarding an interpretation of various aspects of federal wage and hour laws. One of those requests, Opinion Letter FLSA2021-7, on behalf of unnamed members of the America’s Newspapers membership, requested the DOL provide guidance as to whether local small-town and community news source journalists are creative professionals under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and thus, exempt from the FLSA’s obligations to pay overtime as a result of federal law.

The FLSA’s creative professional exemption allows newspapers to pay reporters and photographers a salary as opposed to hourly if their primary duty requires “invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.” 29 C.F.R. 541.300(a)(2)(ii).

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