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Creative Professionals Are Not Exempt from Overtime Under Nevada Wage and Hour Laws

Volume 5, Issue 6
May 23, 2006

In the past, Nevada employers could safely focus upon only federal law when determining whether an employee was exempt from overtime. Volume 4, Issue 10 of the Employer Report previously alerted employers to a 2005 technical change to Nevada's overtime statute which requires Nevada employers to expand their analysis on exemptions to include Nevada's wage and hour laws.

One such exemption recognized by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act is the professional exemption which excludes from overtime liability a wide variety of professional employees, including learned professionals (doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.) and creative professionals (musicians, actors, artists, etc.). Nevada's Labor Commissioner advises, however, that the Nevada Legislature limits the definition of professional employees to those who are "licensed or certified by the State of Nevada for and engaged in the practice of law" or any of the other enumerated regulated professions, such as contractors, architects, engineers, doctors, nurses, and even barbers and cosmetologists. Nevada's definition does not include creative professionals who are not regulated by the state. As such, while creative professionals may be exempt from overtime under federal law, they are not exempt under Nevada state law.

The 2005 change to the state overtime statute resulted in an unfortunate result for Nevada employers who should legitimately expect more consistency between state and federal law in this important area. Employers are encouraged to contact their representatives about resolving this issue during the 2007 legislature. In the meantime, however, Nevada employers are reminded of and must be attentive to the significant differences between federal and state law on overtime exemptions.

Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.