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California Employment Law - Bulletin

Mar 16, 2008
As from January 1st, 2008 California now has the highest hourly rate of pay in the United States thanks to its employment law and the backing of it's Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. On that date a worker's minimum wage rose from $7.50 an hour to $8.00 and hour.

An added plus is that meal and lodging credits rose by a similar percentage for those workers receiving them from their employers. On the downside, these credits can be included when calculating the minimum wage payable by employers.

Unfortunately, if you are a federal employee and work outside California, your wage remains at $5.15/hour. That bites!

The area of overtime under California employment law is somewhat problematical and is currently the subject of intense debate. The employment law in California separates workers into two classes - those who are non-exempt and those who are exempt.

If an employee entitled to overtime is treated as exempt, they could be eligible to a nice chunk of change for overtime pay once the dust settles.

Non-exempt workers do gain a certain level of protection though when compared to exempt workers. Their employers are subject to all the pay rules and regulations set up by the Industrial Welfare Commission, including overtime pay. This means that all non-exempt employees must be paid for all overtime hours worked.

Check the California employment law codes to see which category you come under or call your local Department of Labor.

As a rule of thumb, your status as an exempt of non exempt employee if governed by the responsibilities you have or your professional status. Job title or description has nothing to do with it.

Examples of exempt employees under California employment law would include licensed professionals such as lawyers, engineers, doctors, certified public accountants and architects. Managerial staff who are responsible for training, hiring and firing and spend less than 50 percent of their time performing the same duties as their staff also qualify.

The other two categories considered to be exempt are outside sales reps and those who create/formulate business policies for their organizations. Again, if you have any questions about exempt versus non-exempt employees and how to make sure they are paid according to the law, check with the nearest Department of Labor office. Save yourself some time and grief in the long run.
About the Author
For similar articles visit Colin R Cherry's Employment Guide, and Employment Law sites.
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