What is the Administrative Exemption to California’s Labor Laws?

What is the Administrative Exemption to California’s Labor Laws

What is the administrative exemption to California’s labor laws? This guide explains the rule that applies to administrative employees regarding overtime, as well as meal and rest breaks.

What is the Administrative Exemption to California’s Labor Laws?

Administrative employees are exempt from California’s overtime laws, and they’re not entitled to meal and rest breaks – but how do you know if you’re an administrative employee? What can you do if you’re not an administrative employee but you’re not receiving overtime pay? Here’s what you need to know.

Who is an Exempt Administrative Employee?

An exempt administrative employee must:

  • Primarily perform administrative duties, such as tasks and activities that are part of a business’s daily operations – like answering calls, managing correspondence, ordering supplies and keeping office space organized. This work is “office work” and non-manual labor.
  • Regularly exercise discretion and independent judgement, and it must be a customary part of the job. This can include handling unexpected issues without consulting “the boss” for guidance.
  • Earn a monthly salary of at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time work.

If you are exempt based on California law, you are not entitled to overtime pay, or to meal and rest breaks that other employees are entitled to.

What if Only Some of Your Work is Administrative?

If some of your workday involves administrative tasks, but you also engage in non-administrative work (including manual labor), you may or may not be an exempt employee. The key lies in how much of your work is administrative. For example, if you spend most days in the office, conducting administrative tasks, but you occasionally go help other workers with tasks that are not related to running or managing the company, you are probably still an exempt administrative employee. However, if most of your work is not administrative, although you occasionally perform administrative tasks, you may not be exempt from overtime laws or meal and rest break laws.

What if Your Employer Misclassifies You and Thinks You Qualify for the Administrative Exemption to California’s Labor Laws?

Sometimes employers misclassify employees – and it may be intentional or unintentional. If you are a misclassified employee, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer for unpaid overtime pay.

Related: Minimum wage disputes and unpaid overtime

What Does it Mean if You’re an Exempt Employee?

If you’re an exempt employee, some of California’s wage and hour laws don’t apply to you. Specifically, you won’t qualify for overtime pay – and you’re not entitled to the same meal and rest breaks that your fellow employees are entitled to receive.

Overtime

Nonexempt employees are entitled to the following.

Hours Worked Pay Rate
8 or more in one day 1.5 times the hourly rate
40 or more in one workweek 1.5 times the hourly rate
7th consecutive day in one workweek 1.5 times the hourly rate
12 or more per day 2 times the hourly rate
Over 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day in a workweek 2 times the hourly rate

Meal and Rest Breaks

Nonexempt employees are entitled to:

  • One 10-minute rest break during a shift lasting between 3.5 hours and six hours
  • Two 10-minute rest breaks during a shift lasting between six hours and 10 hours
  • One 30-minute meal breakduring a shift lasting more than five hours
  • Two 30-minute meal breaksduring a shift lasting more than 10 hours

What About Salaries for Exempt Administrative Employees?

Your employer is supposed to pay you a fair wage, even if you do work overtime without additional compensation as an exempt employee. The table below outlines the minimum salary for exempt employees, depending on your employer’s size.

Year Employers With 25 or Fewer Employees Employers With 26 or More Employees
2020 $49,920 $54,080
2021 $54,080 $58,240
2022 $58,240 $62,400
2023 $62,400 $66,560

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About the Administrative Exemption to California’s Labor Laws?

If you believe your employer has misclassified you, or if you have another issue with the administrative exemption to California’s labor laws, we may be able to help you. We will be happy to evaluate your case – just call us for a free consultation at 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below.


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