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Most employees are entitled to a minimum hourly wage under state and federal laws. However, some employees are considered exempt from these laws, but this does not mean there aren’t minimum standards for them, as well. If an employee in California is misclassified as exempt or does not receive the minimum salary for exempt employees, they have the right to seek any unpaid wages they are owed. If you have concerns, speak with a California employment law lawyer as soon as possible.

California Salary Exempt

California has laws regarding exempt employees in the state, including minimum salary requirements. Though exempt employees do not need to receive a certain hourly wage, they must receive a minimum annual salary to qualify as exempt. This minimum salary is two times the current minimum wage paid for a standard 40-hour week.

Currently, the California minimum wage is:

  • For employers with 25 or fewer employees = $1,120 per week or $58,240 per year
  • For employers with 26 or more employees = $1,200 per week or $62,400 per year

As the state minimum wage has increased over the past five years, so has the minimum exempt salary each year. These minimum salaries apply to those who fall under the exemption as administrative employees, executives, or professionals.

There is a different requirement for computer software employees to be exempt, and the following minimums apply, depending on how someone is paid:

  1. $50 minimum wage per hour for all time worked
  2. A salary of $8,679.16 per month
  3. A salary of $104,149.81 per year

Additional Requirements for California Exempt Employees

To be exempt, an employee needs more than just a title as a professional, executive, or administrative support and the minimum salary as mentioned above. Their job duties must also be consistent with their job title to qualify for the exemption.

For example, an employer might give someone an executive title to make them exempt, but they might not have job duties that are consistent with executives. In this case, the employee should be non-exempt and entitled to overtime pay.

Many employees should be non-exempt but are categorized as exempt by employers. When this happens, the employee can miss out on significant overtime payments if they work more than a standard 40-hour workweek. Consider the following:

  1. An exempt employee receives a salary of $1,200 per week even though they work 55 hours a week.
  2. If that employee learns they are non-exempt and are properly categorized, they would be entitled to an additional $675 per week for 15 hours of overtime at their current hourly rate.

If you’ve been missing out on overtime due to misclassification as exempt, speak with an employment lawyer as soon as possible about your options.

Learn more: Who is Exempt from Minimum Wage Laws?

Speak with a California Minimum Wage Lawyer Today

At Mara Law Firm, we help employees in California with a wide range of wage and hour issues, including exempt/non-exempt status concerns. Contact us for a free consultation and more information about your legal rights as an employee in California.

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