On September 16, 2000, Governor
Davis signed Senate Bill 88 ("SB 88"), which immediately
establishes exemptions from California's overtime compensation requirements
for a limited scope of computer and health care professionals. This
article focuses on the computer professional. SB 88 does NOT exempt
from overtime all computer programmers or information systems employees.
The new exemption only covers certain highly compensated programmers
or system designers. To qualify for the computer professional exemption,
employees must satisfy the following criteria:
1. Job Duties.
The employee must spend more than half of their time in work that
is "intellectual or creative" and requires the exercise
of discretion and independent judgment; and the employee's primary
duties must consist of one or more of the following:
(a) systems analysis,
including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software
or system functional specifications;
(b) design, development, documentation, analysis, creation,
or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes,
based on and related to, user or system design specifications;
(c) documentation, testing, creation, or modification
of computer programs related to the design of software or hardware
for computer operating systems.
2. Skill Level/Compensation.
The employee must be highly skilled and proficient in the theoretical
and practical application of highly specialized information to
computer systems analysis, programming, and software engineering.
Additionally, the employee must earn at least $41.00 per hour
(a full time salary of $85,280 per year). This compensation level
will be adjusted each year based upon the increase in the Consumer
Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.
3. Specific Exceptions.
Under SB88, employees in the following jobs will NOT qualify for
(a) Trainees or entry-level
(b) Employees in computer-related occupations lacking
the expertise to work independently;
(c) Employees engaged in the operation of computers or
in the manufacture, repair, or maintenance of computer hardware
and related equipment;
(d) Engineers, drafters, machinists, or other professional
employees whose work is highly dependent upon or facilitated
by the use of computers and computer software programs and who
are skilled in computer-aided design software, including CAD/CAM;
(e) Writers engaged in writing content material either
for print or for onscreen media; and
(f) Computer professionals engaged in creating imagery
for effects used in motion picture, television, or theatrical
In sum, this new computer professional
exemption -- much like the federal standard after which it is
patterned -- may provide some overtime relief for employers with
highly skilled and highly compensated computer professionals,
but it is not a broad based exemption for high tech employees.
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This article has been prepared by Melissa C. Marsh for the
benefit of clients and friends. Although prepared by a professional,
this article should not be used as a substitute for legal
advice because your specific factual circumstances may differ,
the laws of your jurisdiction may differ, your specific
situation may require different advice, or the laws may
have changed. Readers should not act upon the information
contained in this article without first seeking the advice
of a local licensed and practicing attorney.
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