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Am I entitled to exempt pay? California

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  • Am I entitled to exempt pay? California

    My employer has classified me as an exempt employee since signing on in February of 2006, and, as such, I am not entitled to overtime pay. I am a computer professional (Systems Analyst) who designs, builds, and tests, software that comprises an electronic medical record system database. Am I entitled to an hourly rate at least as high as the threshold rate ($47.81 and $49.77) for Exempt Computer Software Employees for 2006 and 2007, respectively?
    Last edited by Bob Demers; 09-14-2007, 01:56 PM. Reason: syntax

  • #2
    I think this is a trick question.

    You can be paid on a salary basis.
    Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ScottB View Post
      I think this is a trick question.

      You can be paid on a salary basis.
      With respect to your comment: "I think this is a trick question": I don't know what you mean. Are you saying that you think that I'm intending to trick you with this question? If so, I am certainly NOT doing that!

      With reference to your remark "You can be paid on a salary basis": I will concede that my employer could have chosen to pay me at a salary that would be commensurate with the rates of pay that I've cited, but has not done so. Instead, my pay stub lists an hourly rate of pay, and my earnings are computed based on that hourly rate. I'm merely trying to ascertain whether or not my employer is obliged to pay me at the threshold rate, in view of the fact that I have been classified as "exempt".

      No hidden agendas here, Scott!

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      • #4
        Agreed. The federal rules can be found at the first webpointer. The somewhat stricter CA rules can be found at the second webpointer.

        The Exempt computer professional rules are sort of strange. Under federal rules only, the employee must be paid either a salary of at least $455/week, or can be paid on a hourly basis at a rate of at least $27.63, which is obviously quite a bit more money. Most non-stupid employers will pay these employees on a salary basis. The California rules have higher limits, especially for the hourly minimum, but the general principal remains the same.

        http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/complian...e_computer.htm

        http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Glossary....ftware%20field
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bob Demers View Post
          With reference to your remark "You can be paid on a salary basis": I will concede that my employer could have chosen to pay me at a salary that would be commensurate with the rates of pay that I've cited, but has not done so. Instead, my pay stub lists an hourly rate of pay, and my earnings are computed based on that hourly rate. I'm merely trying to ascertain whether or not my employer is obliged to pay me at the threshold rate, in view of the fact that I have been classified as "exempt".
          What the pay stub say does not really mean much legally as far as FLSA compliance is concerned. Many payroll programs list a hourly rate equivelent for employees paid on a salaried basis. If you are paid on a hourly basis, then your gross wages should exactly equal hours worked in the pay period times the hourly rate. Is this true? Or does your gross wages normally stay the same as your actual hours worked varies?

          If you are indeed being paid based on actual hours worked times an hourly rate then that rate does indeed have to meet the CA minimum rate (and your employer is "dumber then dirt" for having set things up that way).
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DAW View Post
            If you are indeed being paid based on actual hours worked times an hourly rate then that rate does indeed have to meet the CA minimum rate (and your employer is "dumber then dirt" for having set things up that way).
            Thank you, DAW.

            Yes, that's the way my employer has set it up. And I do believe that this was an innocent mistake on their part, simply because my employer is a non-profit hospital that is not accustomed to hiring a platoon of IT Analysts.

            Before I proceeded to chat with them about this issue, though, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going off "half-****ed".

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            • #7
              One other thing. I am not aware of a "hospital" exception to the IT rule, but anything is possible. While "non-profit" per se does not mean much for most payroll purposes, governmental might (some non-profit hospitals are governmental and some are not).
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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              • #8
                As the former payroll manager for a city government, I can attest that there aren't any exceptions in this scenario. DAW has explained it correctly (as usual).

                Having said that, though, NO employee is entitled to be classified as exempt. The Computer Professional classification of exempt employees only says that the employer may pay such exempt employees on an hourly basis (instead of a fixed salary) if the rate is at least XX.XX. Doing so does not mean that the employer has to pay overtime.
                Last edited by Pattymd; 09-14-2007, 06:14 PM.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                • #9
                  Many thanks!

                  I am beholden to all of you for your thoughtful, and extremely helpful, feedback!

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