California labor laws have strict regulations regarding overtime, tracking hours, and rest and meal breaks. Some jobs are exempt from these laws. An exempt employee is loosely defined as someone who is not regulated by one or more of the wage and hour laws. Determining whether you are an exempt or non-exempt employee comes down to the following:
- Minimum Salary – the employee must be paid at least twice the state minimum wage based on a 40-hour workweek.
- White-Collar Duties – 51% or more of the employee’s duties must be executive, professional, or administrative tasks.
- Independent Judgement – The employee’s duties must allow them independent judgment and discretion.
All the above three requirements must be met for an employee to be classified as exempt from minimum wage, rest break, and overtime requirements. However, there are a few exceptions to the above requirements. Certain jobs require a completely different test, and some employees are only exempt from certain labor requirements, and not others.
The most common exemptions are:
- Physicians and surgeons
- IT professionals
- Commissioned employees
- Private school teachers
- Truck drivers
- Union employees
- Outside salespeople
These types of jobs will have their own tests or be partially exempt. It is worth noting that an employee may only be classified as exempt if they “plainly and unmistakably” satisfy the requirements for exempt status.
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