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The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC

California Overtime Law: Are You Exempt?

In California, employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than eight hours in a single day or more than 40 hours in a seven day period. However, not every employee qualifies for overtime pay.  Here is a list of overtime exceptions; employees on this list are not entitled to overtime pay.

  1. Executive employees:  Executive employees are those who manage a business or department. The employee must supervise at least two people and have the authority to hire and fire or recommend changes in employment status. The employee must earn at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment.
  2. Administrative employees:  Administrative employees are those who perform office or administrative work with limited supervision and earn at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment.
  3. Professional employees:  These include employees in the fields of medicine, dentistry, optometry, law, architecture, engineering, teaching, and accounting, or those is occupations generally recognized as learned or artistic fields. The work should require advanced knowledge of the field, or be original and creative, or intellectual in character. The employee must be allowed to demonstrate independent judgment and earn at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment.
  4. Employees in the computer software field:  Programmers, designers, testers and other software professionals who do intellectual or creative work are exempt if the workers hourly rate is no less than $40.38 per hour. This changes every year. This rate is effective January 1, 2014.  Thus, the 2014 minimum annual salary exemption is $84,130.53 and minimum monthly salary exemption is $7,010.88.
  5. Government workers:  Employees of the state, county, city or special district are exempt from overtime.
  6. Outside salespersons:  These are salespersons that spend most of their time outside of the employer’s place of business.
  7. The employer’s family members:  Parents, spouses, and children of an employer are exempt from overtime pay.
  8. Workers in national service programs:  AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and other service program workers are exempt from overtime.
  9. Drivers who are regulated by federal transportation code:  This includes drivers who transport goods across state lines and drivers who transport hazardous materials. There are other exceptions.
  10. Drivers who are regulated by Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, subchapter 6.5, section 1200 et seq.:  This may include drivers of vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds and drivers of trucks regulated by the California Public Utility Commission.
  11. Some union workers and others who are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement:  The collective bargaining agreement must specify the employee’s wages, hours of work, and working conditions and provide premium wage rates for overtime hours. The employee must earn at least 30 percent more than the state minimum wage.
  12. Commissioned salesperson:  Commissioned salespersons are exempt from overtime if the sales person earns 1.5 times the California minimum wage, receives more than half of his earnings from commissions, and spends 50 percent of his time outside the employer’s place of business.
  13. Student nurses:  Student nurses in an accredited school are exempt from overtime.
  14. Some railway workers:  Employees who have entered into a collective bargaining agreement under the Railway Labor Act may be exempt from overtime laws.
  15. Taxicab drivers: Taxi drivers are exempt from California overtime rules.
  16. Some airline employees:  Airline employees are exempt when they work over 40 hours but not more than 60 hours in a week due to an employee-requested change in work schedule.
  17. Carnival operators:  Carnival ride operators are exempt if they are employed full-time by a traveling carnival.
  18. Commercial fishermen:  Crew members employed on commercial fishing boats are exempt.
  19. Professional actors:  Actors and actresses are exempt.
  20. Motion picture projectionist:  Motion picture projectionists are exempt.
  21. Some radio and TV employees:  Announcer, news editors, and chief engineers are exempt if they are employed by a radio or television station in a town with a population of less than 25,000 people.
  22. Intellectual, Managerial, Or Creative Positions: Any employee who is engaged in work that is primarily intellectual, managerial, or creative, and which requires exercise of discretion and independent judgement, and makes at least 2x the Monthly CA minimum wage for full-time employment.
  23. Some agricultural workers:  Sheepherders and irrigators are exempt from overtime. Other agricultural workers who work less than 30 hours per week do not qualify for overtime on the 7th consecutive work day.
  24. Irrigators: If More than half of an employee's working time is devoted to irrigation.
  25. Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement: If the agreement provides premium wage rates for overtime work and they make at least $1.00/hour more than CA minimum wage.
  26. Personal attendants:  Personal attendants are exempt from daily overtime laws.
  27. Babysitters:  Anyone under the age of 18 who watches a minor child of the employer in the employer’s home is exempt.


If you have questions about your right to overtime, call (619) 234-2833.

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