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Employee Classification: California

Employee Classification requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Authors: Adam W. G. Freed and Anthony J. Oncidi, Proskauer Rose LLP

Updating Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor


  • California's overtime exemptions are similar to those of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in some respects. However, there are several important differences that require special attention. See Overtime and Meal and Rest Break Exemptions.
  • One of the most significant differences is that the salary basis test for California's exemptions is higher than under federal law. In addition, to be "primarily engaged" in an exempt duty, the employee must be engaged in that activity for at least 50 percent of the time. See Overtime and Meal and Rest Break Exemptions.
  • Computer professionals and inside salespersons may qualify for exemptions from California's overtime requirements, but not its meal and rest break requirements. See Overtime-Only Exemptions.
  • Employees must be exempt under both California and federal law in order to be exempt from California's overtime requirements.