Reminder - California Minimum Wage Increases Jan. 1 and Impacts Exempt Employees

As a simple reminder, employers should begin to plan to adjust their payroll systems in order to ensure that all California employees are paid the new minimum wage of $8 per hour starting January 1, 2008.  With this increase, California will tie Massachusetts for the highest minimum wage rate in the country. 

Impact Upon Exempt Employees
Employers will also have to re-examine the pay rates for their exempt employees. One of the items California law requires for an employee to qualify as exempt (which means they are not entitled to overtime) the employee must earn at least two times minimum wage, base on a forty hour workweek. Therefore, the increase in the minimum wage means that the minimum salary for exempt employees will increase from to $31,200 in 2007 to $33,280 as of January 1, 2008.

In addition, employers should also review their pay rates for commissioned inside sales employees. For an employee to qualify as a commissioned inside sales employees who are exempt from overtime under Wage Order Nos. 4 and 7, the employee must earn at least 1.5 times the minimum wage for all hours of work to maintain the exemption. The employee must meet other requirements to qualify for this exemption, but the salary level is a bright-line rule that must be met in order for the exemption to apply.
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