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Ending the FLSA Teacher Exclusion

The Department of Labor can put a floor under the teaching profession by providing teachers with the same wage and hour protections as other professions.
Teacher at whiteboard Getty Images
Published: May 25, 2022

The long-smoldering crisis of teacher shortages across the United States accelerated to a five-alarm fire during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Low pay and the gap between teacher pay and that of other similarly educated professionals is one of the primary factors contributing to this shortage. The escalating crisis impacts student learning and the professional status and economic security of teachers, almost three-quarters of whom are women. 

The U.S. Department of Labor must use its regulatory authority to raise compensation standards in the teaching profession, NEA argues in a white paper. 

The Department can do so by rescinding its antiquated regulation that lumps teachers in with doctors and lawyers as the only professionals who are categorically excluded from the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

By rescinding the teacher exclusion regulation, the Department of Labor can put a floor under teacher compensation nationwide and ensure that teacher salaries, like those of other professionals, meet the salary test for them to be exempt from overtime pay.

Download the white paper

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Bargaining for the Common Good

Together, we can improve student learning and the educational environment, like smaller class size, fewer standardized tests, more recess and art and music classes, and additional counselors.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.