5 CFR § 551.209 - Creative professionals.

§ 551.209 Creative professionals.

(a) To qualify for the creative professional exemption, an employee's primary duty must be the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor as opposed to routine mental, manual, mechanical, or physical work. The work performed must be “in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor,” including such fields as music, writing, acting, and the graphic arts. The exemption does not apply to work which can be produced by a person with general manual or intellectual ability and training. The requirement of “invention, imagination, originality, or talent” distinguishes the creative professions from work that primarily depends on intelligence, diligence, and accuracy. The duties of employees vary widely, and exemption as a creative professional depends on the extent of the invention, imagination, originality, or talent exercised by the employee. Determination of exempt creative professional status must be made on a case-by-case basis. This requirement generally is met by actors, musicians, composers, conductors, and soloists; painters who at most are given the subject matter of their painting; and writers who choose their own subjects and hand in a finished piece of work to their employers. This requirement generally is not met by a person who is employed as a retoucher of photographs, since such work is not properly described as creative in character.

(b) Federal employees engaged in the work of newspapers, magazines, television, or other media are not exempt creative professionals if they only collect, organize, and record information that is routine or already public, or if they do not contribute a unique interpretation or analysis to a news product. For example, employees who merely rewrite press releases or who write standard recounts of public information by gathering facts on routine community events are not exempt creative professionals. Employees also do not qualify as exempt creative professionals if their work product is subject to substantial control by the organization. However, when the work requires invention, imagination, originality, or talent, as opposed to work which depends primarily on intelligence, diligence, and accuracy, such employees may qualify as exempt creative professionals if their primary duty is performing on the air in radio, television or other electronic media; conducting investigative interviews; analyzing or interpreting public events; writing editorials, opinion columns, or other commentary; or acting as a narrator or commentator. Work that does not fully meet the creative professional exemption criteria does not preclude exemption under another exemption category. For example, public affairs work under control of the organization that does not meet the creative professional exemption may meet the administrative exemption.