California Labor &
Employment Law Blog

Dec. 7 2011

Minimum Pay for Exempt Computer Professionals Goes Up January 1

Topics: New Laws & Legislation, Wage & Hour Issues

California's Department of Industrial Relations has announced that the minimum pay required for computer professionals to qualify for overtime exemption in California is increasing effective January 1, 2012.  The increase is 2.5% higher than the current minimum pay rate and requires that these employees be paid at least $38.89 per hour, which translates to a monthly salary of $6,752.19 and an annual salary of $81,026.25.  Employers should note that these minimum pay thresholds are applicable to only to California computer professionals.  The minimum rate of pay under federal law is different (the hourly rate being $27.63 per hour).  Employers with exempt computer professionals in California should review their pay practices to ensure compliance with the increased pay requirements. 

California employers are cautioned that not all employees who work in the computer field qualify for overtime exemption, regardless of how much they are paid.  In order to qualify, these employees (in addition to being paid at least the minimum pay detailed above) must meet very specific duties tests, generally involving programming, software development, as opposed to installation, maintenance, repair, and the like.  (Click here for a more detailed description of these duties on the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement website.)  The duties tests under California law are, again, somewhat different than those applied under the federal computer professional exemption.  As such, employers with California computer professionals who are or will be classified as exempt, should carefully review the duties and pay to be sure exempt classification is proper.   

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For over 20 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor

Robin Largent represents employers, including major food and retail companies, in all types of employment litigation: wrongful termination, retaliation, breach of contract, wage and hour (California Labor Code) and unfair competition. She also regularly counsels and advises California employers on issues of compliance with California and federal employment laws.
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