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Who qualifies for overtime pay in California?

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2022 | Employment Law

Under California law, employers must pay nonexempt employees who work more than eight hours each day overtime pay. The overtime rate is one and half times an employee’s regular salary for hours over eight or under 12 in a day.

The law contains several exemptions for different types of employees.


Employees who work as professionals in a designated area are not eligible for overtime. Some exempted professionals include doctors, lawyers, architects, accountants, teachers and engineers. For the exemption to apply, the professional must use independent judgment to perform daily job functions. The employer must also pay them a minimum monthly salary of two times the pay rate for a minimum wage position.

Traveling positions

The law also exempts certain types of jobs involving a significant amount of travel. Outside salespersons who work more than half their time in the field making sales calls do not qualify for overtime. Long-haul truck drivers also generally do not qualify for overtime pay. Other exempted jobs involving significant travel are carnival ride operators and airline workers.

Jobs under the collective bargaining agreement

Positions controlled by a collective bargaining agreement do not qualify for overtime if the contract designates pay, hours of work and overtime rates. The agreement must also pay a premium wage of at least 30% more than California’s minimum wage.

Employers must pay overtime to workers who do not meet an exemption even if the employer did not authorize the extra work. All employees should keep detailed time records to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.

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