Offices in San Francisco and Marin County

Offices in San Francisco and Marin County

If I receive a salary instead of hourly pay, does that mean I am exempt?

Not necessarily. Being salaried does not guarantee exempt status. Some salaried employees may be incorrectly classified as exempt. There are many categories of exemptions that are governed by complex rules that depend on various factors, such as the type of duties an employee performs.

In general, non-exempt employees receive overtime pay while exempt employees are paid a fixed amount regardless of how many hours they work in a pay period. The three main categories of exempt workers are administrative, executive and professional — commonly known as “ white collar exemptions.”

“Executive Exemption” refers to employees who have a managerial role over a minimum of two people. They also have input on performance reviews and the hiring and firing process. Examples of “ Administrative Exemption” are stockbrokers, marketing managers and high-level financial analysts. Both executive and administrative employees are required to spend over half their work day on exempt duties. “Professional Exemption” comprises architects, teachers, lawyers, doctors and other degreed professionals.

Employees in these categories must be paid a salary at least twice the California minimum wage. However, even employees who earn a higher salary may be non-exempt if in reality they spend more than half their time performing non-managerial duties— or the same types of duties as non-exempt employees.

In addition, certain other types of jobs may be considered exempt by definition under law, including airline employees, outside sales force (if they truly spend most of their time outside the office) and truck drivers who cross state lines.

If you suspect you are wrongly classified as exempt, or any other overtime, minimum wage or other wage error by your employer, McCormack & Erlich has an extensive background helping individuals with wage claims to recover their damages.

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