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Salaried employees shouldn’t assume they don’t get overtime

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2023 | Employment Law |

Many California employers choose to pay their employees a flat salary instead of an hourly wage.

In a perfect world, this should benefit both the employee and their company.

The employee will enjoy higher pay and some freedom and flexibility with their hours, while the employer can often avoid paying overtime.

Unfortunately, some employers try to take advantage of salaried workers by making them work for what amounts to far less than what they are entitled and, sometimes, less even than California’s minimum wage.

This sort of behavior is often illegal.

California employers cannot pay a person a salary and then claim a free pass around this state’s wage and hour laws, including its laws about overtime.

To be exempt from paying overtime, the employee must be actually performing job duties that make them exempt.

To be clear, job titles are not the deciding factor.

To give a couple of examples, “executive” employees, to be exempt, must consistently supervise or direct the work of others, must have input in personnel decisions and must have a role in managing the operation.

Like executives, “administrative” employees must be making important decisions about the business and doing so with considerable leeway. “Administrative” employees are white-collar employees in that they should not be performing significant manual work.

California law requires employers to pay salaried employees a minimum salary

At least with respect to administrative, executive and professional employees, California’s laws also require employers to pay their employees a minimum salary. The salary must come to at least double California’s minimum wage for a 40-hour week. Currently, double the minimum wage in California is just under $64,500 a year.

Misclassification of employees as exempt is a common problem

Too often, Southern California employers misclassify employees as exempt from overtime in an effort to lower their labor costs. This is both unfair and against the law.

Those in the Huntington Beach area who feel like their salaries do not adequately compensate them for their work should consider whether they might have a remedy in court.