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While the minimum wage for non-exempt employees is now $15.50 for 2023, the State of California also increased the minimum wage threshold for overtime-exempt employees. One requirement for an employee to be exempt from overtime pay is that they earn a specific amount or higher as their salary. 

As of January 1, 2023, California law requires exempt employees to earn at least $64,480 per year as their base salary. This is twice the amount a full-time worker earning minimum wage would earn based on the new $15.50 rate. 

If you are earning less than $64,480 and your employer claims you are exempt from overtime, you should speak with a wage attorney as soon as possible. It is likely that you are either misclassified or that your salary should increase to meet the exemption threshold. 

Unfortunately, misclassification as exempt is all too common in California. Many employers try to get around paying overtime by telling employees they are exempt when they should qualify for overtime under the law. Do not allow your employer to save on overtime rates if you should be non-exempt. Further, if your employer wants to keep you as exempt, they must increase your salary to meet the minimum wage threshold. 

General Minimum Wage Information for California

Starting in 2016, the California legislature decided to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, with an additional increase heading into 2023. Some localities have an even higher minimum wage, and everyone should know the required minimum wage for the city where they work. 

The additional increase to $15.50 comes from an analysis of the United States Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (U.S. CPI-W) by the California Department of Finance. Because the rate of inflation increased by almost 8 percent, the Department of Finance recommended a 3.5 percent increase in the minimum wage for 2023. 

Every employer should comply with the changing minimum wage rates. Lack of knowledge is not an excuse to violate an employee’s minimum wage rights. Further, employees should know how much they should be paid under the law, whether exempt or not. 

The law requires employers to post public wage information, including the current minimum wage rate. Employers must also make sure to clearly show an employee’s salary or pay rate on their pay statements.

It is still important for employees to keep a close watch on their pay, especially as the laws require higher pay in a new year. Check the law and then check to see how much your employer is paying you in January. If there is a discrepancy or you have concerns, speak with a wage attorney in California immediately. 

A lawyer can assess whether your employer is in violation of minimum wage laws or minimum exempt threshold requirements. If so, they can determine the best course of action to get you the back pay your employer owes you. 

Consult with a California Minimum Wage for Exempt Attorney

At Mara Law Firm, we work to resolve wage claims as effectively and efficiently as possible, and we can review whether you and/or your coworkers have a wage claim. Contact us for a no-cost case evaluation today.

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