One of the most common wage and hours dispute claims filed in California is about overtime pay.

There is a lot of confusion on whether employees are exempt or non-exempt to overtime.

To help you understand, here is a brief overview about overtime in California.

Overtime, first of all, is the additional compensation for work done beyond the 8 hours a day required by law.

Under California law, a non-exempt employee should be paid one and a half times their regular rate for every hour of overtime.

Now how is an employee classified as exempt or non-exempt in overtime?

The general rule is that if more than 50 percent of your time is devoted to production, then you are not exempt.

This means you have to be paid overtime.

It should also be remembered that this is based on your work and not your title so regardless if your position says manager, if you are working most of the time in production, then you are still non-exempt.

Now, exempt employees are an entirely different matter. There are different categories in which an employee may qualify as exempt, again, depending on their work, not the title.

Some of the common overtime exemptions include:

  • Executive – Employees whose job is to run and manage the company or specific departments of the company.

  • Administrative – Employees whose job is to help the proprietor or other exempt employees in running the business or performing administrative tasks for the company.

  • Professional – Workers who need certain licensed to practice their profession such as doctors, lawyers and engineers.

  • Artistic – Workers who are in the field of learned and artistic profession like singing and acting.

  • Computer software professional – Those who work in designing, developing, testing and implementing software and makes above $41 per hour.

  • Outside Salesperson – Those who create sales and fills orders for the company outside the workplace.

Like with non-exempt employees, the bulk of the job should fall to any of the categories above to be considered exempt.

If not and the employer do not pay you for overtime then you can file a wage claim against him due to misclassification of employee.

Consult a labor and employment law attorney for more details.