e-CFR banner

Home
gpo.gov
govinfo.gov

e-CFR Navigation Aids

Browse

Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity

 

Search History

Search Tips

Corrections

Latest Updates

User Info

FAQs

Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

 

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 20, 2020

Title 29Subtitle BChapter VSubchapter APart 553Subpart C → Subject Group


Title 29: Labor
PART 553—APPLICATION OF THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT TO EMPLOYEES OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
Subpart C—Fire Protection and Law Enforcement Employees of Public Agencies


Exemption Requirements

§553.210   Fire protection activities.

(a) As used in sections 7(k) and 13(b)(20) of the Act, the term “any employee *  *  * in fire protection activities” refers to “an employee, including a firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical technician, rescue worker, ambulance personnel, or hazardous materials worker, who—(1) is trained in fire suppression, has the legal authority and responsibility to engage in fire suppression, and is employed by a fire department of a municipality, county, fire district, or State; and (2) is engaged in the prevention, control, and extinguishment of fires or response to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk.”

(b) Not included in the term “employee in fire protection activities” are the so-called “civilian” employees of a fire department, fire district, or forestry service who engage in such support activities as those performed by dispatchers, alarm operators, apparatus and equipment repair and maintenance workers, camp cooks, clerks, stenographers, etc.

[52 FR 2032, Jan. 16, 1987; 52 FR 2648, Jan. 23, 1987, as amended at 76 FR 18856, Apr. 5, 2011]

§553.211   Law enforcement activities.

(a) As used in sections 7(k) and 13(b)(20) of the Act, the term “any employee  .  .  .  in law enforcement activities” refers to any employee (1) who is a uniformed or plainclothed member of a body of officers and subordinates who are empowered by State statute or local ordinance to enforce laws designed to maintain public peace and order and to protect both life and property from accidental or willful injury, and to prevent and detect crimes, (2) who has the power to arrest, and (3) who is presently undergoing or has undergone or will undergo on-the-job training and/or a course of instruction and study which typically includes physical training, self-defense, firearm proficiency, criminal and civil law principles, investigative and law enforcement techniques, community relations, medical aid and ethics.

(b) Employees who meet these tests are considered to be engaged in law enforcement activities regardless of their rank, or of their status as “trainee,” “probationary,” or “permanent,” and regardless of their assignment to duties incidental to the performance of their law enforcement activities such as equipment maintenance, and lecturing, or to support activities of the type described in paragraph (g) of this section, whether or not such assignment is for training or familiarization purposes, or for reasons of illness, injury or infirmity. The term would also include rescue and ambulance service personnel if such personnel form an integral part of the public agency's law enforcement activities. See §553.215.

(c) Typically, employees engaged in law enforcement activities include city police; district or local police, sheriffs, under sheriffs or deputy sheriffs who are regularly employed and paid as such; court marshals or deputy marshals; constables and deputy constables who are regularly employed and paid as such; border control agents; state troopers and highway patrol officers. Other agency employees not specifically mentioned may, depending upon the particular facts and pertinent statutory provisions in that jurisdiction, meet the three tests described above. If so, they will also qualify as law enforcement officers. Such employees might include, for example, fish and game wardens or criminal investigative agents assigned to the office of a district attorney, an attorney general, a solicitor general or any other law enforcement agency concerned with keeping public peace and order and protecting life and property.

(d) Some of the law enforcement officers listed above, including but not limited to certain sheriffs, will not be covered by the Act if they are elected officials and if they are not subject to the civil service laws of their particular State or local jurisdiction. Section 3(e)(2)(C) of the Act excludes from its definition of “employee” elected officials and their personal staff under the conditions therein prescribed. 29 U.S.C. 203(e)(2)(C), and see §553.11. Such individuals, therefore, need not be counted in determining whether the public agency in question has less than five employees engaged in law enforcement activities for purposes of claiming the section 13(b)(20) exemption.

(e) Employees who do not meet each of the three tests described above are not engaged in “law enforcement activities” as that term is used in sections 7(k) and 13(b)(20). Employees who normally would not meet each of these tests include

(1) Building inspectors (other than those defined in §553.213(a)),

(2) Health inspectors,

(3) Animal control personnel,

(4) Sanitarians,

(5) civilian traffic employees who direct vehicular and pedestrian traffic at specified intersections or other control points,

(6) Civilian parking checkers who patrol assigned areas for the purpose of discovering parking violations and issuing appropriate warnings or appearance notices,

(7) Wage and hour compliance officers,

(8) Equal employment opportunity compliance officers,

(9) Tax compliance officers,

(10) Coal mining inspectors, and

(11) Building guards whose primary duty is to protect the lives and property of persons within the limited area of the building.

(f) The term “any employee in law enforcement activities” also includes, by express reference, “security personnel in correctional instititions.” A correctional institution is any government facility maintained as part of a penal system for the incarceration or detention of persons suspected or convicted of having breached the peace or committed some other crime. Typically, such facilities include penitentiaries, prisons, prison farms, county, city and village jails, precinct house lockups and reformatories. Employees of correctional institutions who qualify as security personnel for purposes of the section 7(k) exemption are those who have responsibility for controlling and maintaining custody of inmates and of safeguarding them from other inmates or for supervising such functions, regardless of whether their duties are performed inside the correctional institution or outside the institution (as in the case of road gangs). These employees are considered to be engaged in law enforcement activities regardless of their rank (e.g., warden, assistant warden or guard) or of their status as “trainee,” “probationary,” or “permanent,” and regardless of their assignment to duties incidental to the performance of their law enforcement activities, or to support activities of the type described in paragraph (g) of this section, whether or not such assignment is for training or familiarization purposes or for reasons of illness, injury or infirmity.

(g) Not included in the term “employee in law enforcement activities” are the so-called “civilian” employees of law enforcement agencies or correctional institutions who engage in such support activities as those performed by dispatcher, radio operators, apparatus and equipment maintenance and repair workers, janitors, clerks and stenographers. Nor does the term include employees in correctional institutions who engage in building repair and maintenance, culinary services, teaching, or in psychological, medical and paramedical services. This is so even though such employees may, when assigned to correctional institutions, come into regular contact with the inmates in the performance of their duties.

§553.212   Twenty percent limitation on nonexempt work.

(a) Employees engaged in law enforcement activities as described in §553.211 may also engage in some nonexempt work which is not performed as an incident to or in conjunction with their law enforcement activities. The performance of such nonexempt work will not defeat either the section 13(b)(20) or 7(k) exemptions unless it exceeds 20 percent of the total hours worked by that employee during the workweek or applicable work period. A person who spends more than 20 percent of his/her working time in nonexempt activities is not considered to be an employee engaged in law enforcement activities for purposes of this part.

(b) Public agency fire protection and law enforcement personnel may, at their own option, undertake employment for the same employer on an occasional or sporadic and part-time basis in a different capacity from their regular employment. (See §553.30.) The performance of such work does not affect the application of the section 13(b)(20) or 7(k) exemptions with respect to the regular employment. In addition, the hours of work in the different capacity need not be counted as hours worked for overtime purposes on the regular job, nor are such hours counted in determining the 20 percent tolerance for nonexempt work for law enforcement personnel discussed in paragraph (a) of this section.

[52 FR 2032, Jan. 16, 1987, as amended at 76 FR 18856, Apr. 5, 2011]

§553.213   Public agency employees engaged in both fire protection and law enforcement activities.

(a) Some public agencies have employees (often called “public safety officers”) who engage in both fire protection and law enforcement activities, depending on the agency needs at the time. This dual assignment would not defeat either the section 13(b)(20) or 7(k) exemption, provided that each of the activities performed meets the appropriate tests set forth in §§553.210 and 553.211. This is so regardless of how the employee's time is divided between the two activities. However, all time spent in nonexempt activities by public safety officers within the work period, whether performed in connection with fire protection or law enforcement functions, or with neither, must be combined for purposes of the 20 percent limitation on nonexempt work discussed in §553.212.

(b) As specified in §553.230, the maximum hours standards under section 7(k) are different for employees engaged in fire protection and for employees engaged in law enforcement. For those employees who perform both fire protection and law enforcement activities, the applicable standard is the one which applies to the activity in which the employee spends the majority of work time during the work period.

§553.214   Trainees.

The attendance at a bona fide fire or police academy or other training facility, when required by the employing agency, constitutes engagement in activities under section 7(k) only when the employee meets all the applicable tests described in §553.210 or §553.211 (except for the power of arrest for law enforcement personnel), as the case may be. If the applicable tests are met, then basic training or advanced training is considered incidental to, and part of, the employee's fire protection or law enforcement activities.

§553.215   [Reserved]

§553.216   Other exemptions.

Although the 1974 Amendments to the FLSA provided special exemptions for employees of public agencies engaged in fire protection and law enforcement activities, such workers may also be subject to other exemptions in the Act, and public agencies may claim such other applicable exemptions in lieu of sections 13(b)(20) and 7(k). For example, section 13(a)(1) provides a complete minimum wage and overtime pay exemption for any employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity, as those terms are defined and delimited in 29 CFR part 541. The section 13(a)(1) exemption can be claimed for any fire protection or law enforcement employee who meets all of the tests specified in part 541 relating to duties, responsibilities, and salary. Thus, high ranking police officials who are engaged in law enforcement activities, may also, depending on the facts, qualify for the section 13(a)(1) exemption as “executive” employees. Similarly, certain criminal investigative agents may qualify as “administrative” employees under section 13(a)(1). However, the election to take the section 13(a)(1) exemption for an employee who qualifies for it will not result in excluding that employee from the count that must be made to determine the application of the section 13(b)(20) exemption to the agency's other employees.

Need assistance?