How to Write a Proposal to Justify the Promotion of a Non-Exempt Employee to Exempt Status

Written by tia benjamin
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Managerial and executive employees with significant responsibility and oversight, professionals with advanced qualifications in certain fields such as law and science and individuals in specific job roles such as computing and outside sales may be considered exempt from the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which governs overtime regulations for most employees in the United States. Exempt employees typically enjoy benefits such as not having to use accrued leave when taking time off, although they also frequently work additional hours without overtime compensation.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Identify the specific promotional opportunity you hope to obtain. Evaluate the position and determine if it meets the tests for exemption under the FLSA. Incorrectly classifying a position as exempt presents significant liability for the organisation so you must be sure that your assessment is correct before drafting the proposal.

  2. 2

    Type your proposal in the form of an e-mail or memo. No specific formatting is required, but the proposal must fully address three significant points: The current issue, the problems associated with the issue and your proposed solution.

  3. 3

    Describe the current issue -- that a critical skills or managerial gap exists within the organisation -- in your first paragraph of the proposal. Include information to identify when, where and how the issue came about. If a vacant position exists, you can point to the vacancy as the cause of the issue. In the absence of a vacancy, you will need to identify the skills or managerial expertise that is missing.

  4. 4

    Objectively identify the problems caused by the issue in the next paragraph. Demonstrate to your boss why the issue is a problem, what solutions have already been attempted -- albeit unsuccessfully -- and how important the problem is. For example, you can use facts and figures to demonstrate that since the position has been left vacant, productivity has dipped, negatively affecting the company's bottom line.

  5. 5

    In the third paragraph, identify the recommended solution -- promoting you into the exempt position -- and provide your reasoning and justification. Mention the skills, experience and qualifications you have that would enable you to perform the job effectively, and the actions you would take to correct the perceived problems.

  6. 6

    Identify the various ways the position meets the test for exempt status in the fourth paragraph of the proposal. Provide a short summary or bullet for each separate item from the test -- for example, the position compensates more than £295 a week, is primarily responsible for the management of a company department and includes the hiring, firing, promotion and day-to-day supervision of other employees.

  7. 7

    Close the proposal by thanking the boss for his time, and suggest a potential follow up meeting to discuss the proposal at the boss' convenience.

Tips and warnings

  • Ask a colleague or mentor to review the proposal before you give it to your boss.
  • Identify the increase to your salary and any other financial considerations -- including any predicted cost savings -- to give the boss a ballpark idea of the net cost of your proposal.

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