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FLSA and the Ministerial Exception

Federal court rules that a seminarian cannot claim unpaid overtime compensation.

Key point 8-08.7. Ministers who are employed to perform ministerial services, and who are paid a salary that meets or exceeds the "salary test," are professional employees exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Ministers not compensated on a salary basis, or who earn a salary below the salary test, may not be covered by the Act. Department of Labor regulations suggest that the Act does not apply to any ministers, and a few federal courts have ruled that the so-called ministerial exception prevents the application of the Act to ministers.

A federal appeals court ruled that it was barred by the so-called "ministerial exception" from resolving a seminarian's claim for unpaid overtime compensation. The court noted that federal courts "have grappled with determining whether a particular church employee, though not ordained, nevertheless should be considered a 'minister' for ...

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Posted:
  • November 1, 2011

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