Wage Protection for Private School Teachers

Hourly employees are not the only workers to benefits from California “minimum wage” bill. Indeed, the overtime compensation of teachers in private elementary or secondary academic institutions changed with the passing of AB 2230 (California’s minimum wage bill). As many California business owners have experienced, the minimum wage increase has set a higher compensation threshold for employees to meet to reach exempt status. Exempt status is determined, in considerable part, by whether an employee earns a monthly salary of at least two times the state minimum wage of $10.00 per hour.

Exempt vs non-exempt employees

California’s overtime laws require employers to compensate “non-exempt” employees who work in excess of eight hours in one workday or in excess of 40 hours in one workweek, at a rate of either one and one-half or two times the regular rate of pay, depending on the amount of excess time worked.if_user-7_2430254

Criteria for exempt status for private sector employees are set forth in California’s Labor Code and by the Industrial Welfare Commission. Regarding independent school teachers, the Labor Code (section 515.8) sets forth requirements which must be met to satisfy the “exempt” status. Indeed, the Labor Code exempts a teacher at a private elementary or secondary academic institution (k-12) from overtime if the following conditions are met:

  • The employee is primarily engaged in the duty of teaching, instructing, or lecturing;
  • The employee regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment in performing the duties of a teacher;
  • The employee attains at least a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution of higher education, or compliance with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, or the equivalent certification authority in another state; and
  • The employee earns a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment.

Prior to July 1, 2017, teachers at private elementary schools, teachers at secondary academic institutions, or employees that earn monthly salaries equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment were not exempted from these financial employment benefits. However, on and after July 1, 2017, a revised earning standard will be implemented for overtime provisions that mandate that “no employee earns no less than the lowest salary offered by any school district or the equivalent” or “no less than 70% of the lowest schedule salary offered by the school district or county in which the private or elementary or secondary institution is located.”

For more information on overtime pay issues, including clarification of recent bills, contact the experienced business lawyers at Dennis Law Group today.