The Law at Work: Salaried workers entitled to overtime pay unless exempt
In his latest The Law at Work column in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Shareholder Dan Eaton goes back to basics to address the misconception that a private sector employee paid a set weekly salary rather than by the hour is never entitled to overtime pay. Under California law, a salaried worker is not exempt from overtime rules unless an employer can show the employee meets all of the criteria of the executive, administrative, or professional exemptions, including:
- earns a monthly salary at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment;
- spends more than half of his or her work time engaged in duties that meet the test for the particular exemption; and
- “regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment in performing those duties.”
An employee who is not exempt, or working under a properly adopted alternative workweek schedule, is entitled to premium pay for hours worked over eight in a day, 40 in a week, and any hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of any workweek. Such a worker also is entitled to meal and rest breaks during the workday. According to Dan, given the potential consequences for misclassifying a nonexempt worker as exempt, an employer should make sure its timekeeping system enables nonexempt salaried employees to be paid for overtime worked.
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