The basic classification is “non-exempt.” California law presumes that all employees are non-exempt employees, meaning that they are not exempt from the Labor Code and Wage Order requirements, such as overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and minimum wage. Usually, non-exempt employees are paid by the hour.
The other classification is “exempt.” Exempt employees are designated as such because they are “exempt” from certain wage and hour requirements due to their duties and pay. However, the employer bears the burden when classifying an employee as exempt, and simply providing a title to an employee does not make them exempt. The employee must meet specific requirements for each applicable exemption, and if the requirements are not met the employee is “non-exempt” and the employer must comply with all wage and hour requirements – such as overtime pay, minimum wage, etc.
There are a number of exempt classifications, most common are Professional (such as doctor, lawyer and accountant), Administrative and Managerial. Exempt employees do not have to be paid by the hour, they are not entitled to overtime, they are paid a monthly salary that must be equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment. Their job duties must meet certain criteria as well.