If an employee makes less than twice the minimum wage, can they be considered to be “exempt”?

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If an employee makes less than twice the minimum wage, can they be considered to be “exempt”?

I am an engineer who is an employee. I do not get paid by the hour; I am salary. I don’t get paid for overtime or coming in to work on the occasional Saturday. I read that if you make less than twice the minimum wage than you can’t be considered “exempt”, so I should be an hourly employee who got paid for that time (i.e. OT and Saturdays). Can you tell me what my weekly pay has to be in order to be exempt?

Asked on January 20, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

To be considered an exempt professional, you must:
1) Be paid at least $23,600/year. Since federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, a minimum wage employee would make $290/week, or around $15,000 per year. Someone making close to double minimum would certainly exceed that threshold. ($23,600/year is approximately $472 per week, or a bit under $12.00 per hour equivalent.)
2) Be paid on salary basis.
3) Be a learned professional, like an engineer, and mostly do intellectual work involving his/her specialized education and/or training.
If these criteria are met, he/she would be an exempt professional.


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