Under California law, exempt employees are not subject to the rules governing meal break, rest break, overtime and off-the-clock work. However, employees are often wrongfully misclassified as “exempt employee.” If you have been erroneously misclassified as exempt, then your employer has a duty to pay for all your meal and rest breaks, overtime, and off-the-clock work.

Who is an exempt employee?

Exempt employees are those who have been engaged in administrative, executive and professional positions where 50% or more of their duties are devoted to such tasks, and they use their independent judgment in fulfilling them. Examples of exempt employees are managers, supervisors, or directors.

An exempt employee must also earn double the state minimum wage in California, a yearly salary which is twice the state minimum wage.

In 2020, an exempt employee must be paid 2 × 2,080 hours in a year calendar × $13/hour (when the employer has more than 25 employees) = $54,080.00.

The Labor Code provides some exceptions and classifies several categories of employees as exempt:

Software developers are exempt under CA law, if:

1) The employee is primarily engaged in work that is intellectual or creative and that requires the exercise of discretion and independent judgment;

2) The employee is primarily engaged in duties that consist of the application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software, or system functional specifications, or design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing, or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;

3) The developers received a minimum salary of $96,968.33 per year ($8,080.71 per month) in 2020.

Surgeons and doctors are considered to be exempt. Also, all employees of California state entities and University of California employees are also exempt from overtime laws.

If you were erroneously considered as an exempt employee, please contact our team of employment lawyers at Employment Rights Law Group today to discuss your case.
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