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Are Coders Exempt From California's Overtime Laws?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the a-hole-in-the-loop dept. 693

Gizmo Kid asks: "How many of you Californian, full-time, software programmers are getting paid overtime? From what I understand, a law in California, passed within the last two years, says that software engineers who make less than $41/hour [PDF version] are required to be paid for overtime? Are your employers following the rules? I'm not sure mine is?"

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I would say (0, Insightful)

ertw (265306) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278500)

that if you're making >$41/hr in these times, you probably aren't the one who's going to make a big fuss over not getting overtime pay...

Mandatory overtime payment (4, Informative)

sp1nl0ck (241836) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278501)

What an amazing idea - usually this sort of thing just gets written into your T&Cs. It certainly does where I work. If you hit a certain salary grade, they don't pay you overtime - you get TOIL instead.

Re:Mandatory overtime payment (5, Informative)

sczimme (603413) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278551)

you get TOIL instead

TOIL for everyone! Woohoo!

Oh, wait...

Yes, it means Time-Off-In-Lieu [of $$$]. (At least I think it does.)

Re:Mandatory overtime payment (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278580)

Wait; you can be paid for overtime?

Re:Mandatory overtime payment (4, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278637)

Maybe you misunderstand. Overtime isnt something you can give up. The law REQUIRES the company to pay you at 1.5x your normal rate of pay for time over 40 hours a week. It does not provide an option for you to opt for TOIL or any other alternative compensation.

Re:Mandatory overtime payment (5, Informative)

autocracy (192714) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278726)

For hourly workers. Skilled salaried workers are in a different boat...

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278505)

Perhaps employer's [i]expect[/i] coders to work overtime, i suppose its a trait that goes with the job... maybe its included with the initial pay...proabably not...

Move to Europe ! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278509)

It really works, you get decent holidays, you dont get screwed out of your retirement. It has democracy inside ! (no inherited positions of power, for example) It depends much less on imported oil. (which will run out in your lifetime, enjoy)
(Too many other reasons to mention)

Re:Move to Europe ! (1)

mark_lybarger (199098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278569)

This is absolutely the best idea, but I'm not sure I'd choose europe when the climate and scenery is so nice down in the caribean. My ideal job/scenerio would be to live in the Yuccatan (cancun) with a good internet connection and to remote development. The people who are able to do remote development probably devote more than 40 hrs to the job though. One of the advantages of living in Mexico is that you don't pay income taxes on money earned abroad (they're probably just glad you're spending it there) and you don't pay US taxes on the first 40-50k (i forget the exact amount). I'll save for my own retirement with that setup...

Re:Move to Europe ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278623)

But don't expect to keep very much of what you earn. Socialism is a bitch like that. And less dependent on foreign oil? The only reason why the French are opposing the war is because they have very lucrative oil deals with Iraq. I believe the case is similar with the Germans.

You're more than welcome to leave though. That's one more job for people who value being compensated for their work.

Re:Move to Europe ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278713)

So, it's OK for the US to make lucrative oil deals with countries that show no respect for human rights, but not for non-US countries?

Re:Move to Europe ! (2, Insightful)

crystalll (543801) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278720)

Still dunno why this kind of insulting posts always come from Anonymous Cowards...

funny I thought that was mandatory (2, Funny)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278511)

Whatever happened to being paid in pizza's, jolt coke and pda's anyway, isn't being employed in the IT branch some kind of new slavery ?

Re:funny I thought that was mandatory (0, Redundant)

krygny (473134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278537)

Give me 40 acres, keep the mule, and I'll just go.

Are you talking to me! (4, Funny)

llamaluvr (575102) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278516)

I'm not sure mine is?

Don't ask me, buddy - I'm not sure if he's following the rules, either!

Salaried workers (1, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278520)

don't get overtime. At least in Virginia. Well, they may if the contract specifies it, but it's not required.

Re:Salaried workers (2, Informative)

AppyPappy (64817) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278572)

Salaried workers are exempt from overtime. The State figures you are getting paid enough. Plus many companies do not offer sick packages. If you are sick, you stay home. The State of Virginia has two plans: VSDP and old school. In the old school, you accumulate sick pay every month. I have about 2 months worth saved up over the last 5 years. VSDP gives you a set amount (like 14 days) a year. After that, you can use vacation for it or go to short term disability which is a complicated formula designed to keep lawyers employed.

Most companies on my resume just gave you the time off without penalty. I worked for a mill that gave you 10 paid days which everyone used in January and then they came in sick for the rest of the year. They couldn't risk getting to the end of the year with free days left.

Overtime? In the South? Yeah, right.

Re:Salaried workers (1)

sp1nl0ck (241836) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278599)

I would have thought that this would depend on your terms and conditions. I'm salaried (staff, rather than agency contractor, IOW), and I get overtime pro-rata (at time+50% in evenings and at time+100% for weekends).

Depending on salary grade, employees get TOIL, and that only at straight time rates.

You must have gone to school in virginia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278667)

this is about california.

Comparing it to viriginia is missing the point entirely. Cripes. You probably went to 'Tech.

Re:You must have gone to school in virginia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278681)

arrogance is so cool, especially on a nerd filled place like this..


What are you going to do though. (5, Interesting)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278526)

Right now most IT companies that my friends work for, and mine as well are really putting the screws to the employees. Our company is demanding more work, giving scanty raises, and lowering our benefits. Unfortunately I live in Texas which is traditionally a state that favors the employer heavily. Good luck with your OT issue, but if it was me right now I would probably just lay low being the heartless coward I am :). I know that even if you win you will probably lose your job for not turning off the lights when you leave or something stupid like that. If I were you I would just take the screwing they are giving you, keep track of your hours, and if you ever get fired or quit then sue for back pay and take the nice fat bonus at the end :).

Re:What are you going to do though. (1)

hfastedge (542013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278564)

Right now most IT companies that my friends work for, and mine as well are really putting the screws to the employees. Our company is demanding more work, giving scanty raises, and lowering our benefits. Unfortunately I live in Texas which is traditionally a state that favors the employer heavily. Good luck with your OT issue, but if it was me right now I would probably just lay low being the heartless coward I am :). I know that even if you win you will probably lose your job for not turning off the lights when you leave or something stupid like that. If I were you I would just take the screwing they are giving you, keep track of your hours, and if you ever get fired or quit then sue for back pay and take the nice fat bonus at the end :).

Sorry, but this is bullshit. This is america's bullshit where you have no job protection. Where you have to fend for yourself through lawyers.

Its really less human than say a nice atmosphere of *living* like a european country, or brazil or korea.

There was an article featured here on slashdot by ben stein about exactly this.
I live in texas too. When I can't find a tech job that isnt *nice* and *proper* I do other work, why? because Im happier as a waiter/chef at night and writing open source during the day than when Im an a competitive, non-team like atmosphere.

Ben stein link: 24232

Re:What are you going to do though. (2, Informative)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278574)

It seems unlikely that the government would pass a law like this without at least giving some thought to how they're going to enforce it. I know they've got all kinds of labor law signs posted in the break rooms that they're required by law to put up, I imagine one of those signs probably has info on how to anonymously alert the appropriate regulatory body that your employer may not be following the overtime rules.

Enforcement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278606)

It's illegal for kids to smoke you see any going to jail?

working out of work on work (0)

odyrithm (461343) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278528)

can being shunted outta work at the end of the day, then getting a phone call just as you get home that the networks playing up.. then logging in and spending hours fixing it count?

l33t (0, Offtopic)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278530)

Now, if only programming students workin more than 40 hours a week could get paid OT... Sigh, I'm gonna guess that only by-the-hour employees are covered by this policy, and salaried workers are not.

Re:l33t (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278729)

That's right. If you're salaried, you're an "exempt" employee. I've been both salaried and hourly. Salaried works best for me as a department employee with long term commitments, bennies, and a MOL standard work week. Hourly works best when I've been a hired gun and working extreme hours. It also means that when the gig is done, you're gone.

overtime? hahaha (3, Informative)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278532)

I work for a company where my boss told my group that would like us to train other members of other groups.. ok fine no problem.. then he wants to do it outside our normal 8 hour shift.. haha that went over real well!! we told him we'd do it during work hours or not at all.. and it worked.

overtime issues (5, Insightful)

kbs (70631) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278534)

What I've found (and this isn't really a California thing, but more like something I've found regularly at companies) is that overtime isn't mandatory, but if you have a deadline, you need to finish your responsibility by then. If you can do it within the normal work hours, then great! More power to you! But if you can't, it would reflect badly on you if you didn't put in the extra time, despite the fact the company doesn't pay for overtime. It's one of those "you're doing it because you want to, not because we're making you" despite the fact that you are really in a situation where you need to in order not to get a bad review.

Re:overtime issues (4, Insightful)

forsetti (158019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278546)

In some circumstances, I would agree with you, however, most of the time I find myself burning the midnight oil because management decids to ignore the technical recommendations and have set unrealistic deadlines

Re:overtime issues (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278627)

And it was also a good idea for coal miners to put in that extra effort to get the extra ton of coal mined by the time they left for the day. Not because they make you, but because you wanted to. Heck, we're not making you work 16 hours today, you just want to to fulfill an obligation you feel you owe to the company. Overtime? You're exempt!

Sorry, but no. Exempt status is the new slavery. It shouldn't exist. All people should be paid hourly, period. If you work more than 40 hours a week for any reason you earn time and a half. Life in America would be a lot better for families if mom and dad weren't expected to put in 80 hours a week for their base salary with the threat of being fired looming over their head. Your number one obligation is to the people you love, your family, friends, etc. Work doesn't even place a distant second in my opinion. I'll help out if it doesn't effect my family life, but otherwise when my 8 hours are in I leave for the day and forget about work. Companies don't care about you! You're just a resource to be exploited like a machine processing materials.

Re:overtime issues (5, Insightful)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278723)

You're just a resource to be exploited like a machine processing materials.

Indeed. Notice how personnel departments are never called "personnel" any more? S'always "human resources" nowadays.


Re:overtime issues (1)

s.a.m (92412) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278670)

While this is true, here in Virginia I read up on the laws. Unless you're a salary worker who has a fixed amount of pay then you're required to pay the worker overtime pay when the number of hours worked in a one week period of time exceeds 40 hours.

I actually looked this up so I can show it to the project manager in case he ever gets antsy and not want to authorize me getting my overtime pay.

Re:overtime issues- Here is the law (1)

s.a.m (92412) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278700) r.htm

And overtime Specifically.. ce/whd/whdfs23.htm

Re:overtime issues (1)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278682)

Who set the deadline?

Management? -- It is generally forced.

Programmer? - learn to estimate better.

Re:overtime issues (2, Insightful)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278710)

overtime isn't mandatory, but if you have a deadline, you need to finish your responsibility by then. If you can do it within the normal work hours, then great!

Except that you can't do it within normal work hours, because the deadlines are so tight that everyone has to put in overtime. Call my cynical, but it almost seems as if the deadlines are set deliberately tight in order to get extra work out of everyone.

The implication is "you're contracted for n hours per week, but we nevertheless expect n+7. If you're not doing the extra 7, we want to know why". That was the culture at my previous job (at a multinational). The culture at my current workplace (small start-up) is fortunately much friendlier.


If you have to ASK... (5, Funny)

Tsar (536185) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278538)

"Are your employers following the rules? I'm not sure mine is?"

You don't know whether you're being paid overtime? Maybe you aren't a software engineer. Does your job involve computers? Just because you work with a large flat surface that you cook hamburgers on doesn't mean it's a Pentium 66.

having recently graduated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278541)

and worked various hourly positions while in school, i miss overtime pay--when your getting paid 1.5 times normal pay possibly more, it didn't matter how long i was there, i liked the money...i miss overtime..

Everyone's above the limit (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278547)

I guess no one's getting paid for overtime because everyone gets there more than $41/hour. Those bastards.

Re:Everyone's above the limit (1)

marko123 (131635) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278676)

Couldn't resist:

Everybody to the limit []

Contract? (2, Interesting)

egjertse (197141) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278552)

Well I don't live in California, but I have had work contracts that explicitly say I am not entitled to compensation for overtime. I've always wondered if this sort of contract is legally binding, if it turns out that provisions given in the contract contradict rights that are granted employees by law... Can one sign away ones "right" to paid overtime?

Then again, with the current work climate I guess people will sign just about anything to get a job...

Re:Contract? (2, Informative)

geniusj (140174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278630)

Not in california for that law. He should be getting over time if he is indeed a software engineer and getting paid less than $85k. You start with complaining.. They owe you retroactively from when the law took effect. The same thing happened at a company I worked for in CA. I came into work and was greeted with a $10k check because of retroactive overtime they owed me due to that law. Lawsuit would work if they don't give it to you. If what you're saying is true, they will not win. If they haven't been keeping track of your hours, then what hours you worked are pretty much your call since they weren't smart enough to have any proof otherwise. So anyway, don't let them screw you :)

Re:Contract? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278646)

It's interesting that people don't like to think about this kind of worker's right symmetrically.

At bottom, this is a limitation on freedom of contract is legal, so it's a symmetric limitation on worker and employee. If you disagree, and maintain that it's a grant of rights to the worker, consider taking this kind of increased "right" to a logical limit. Imagine that I wanted to "solve" (from the US programmer's point of view) the problem of competition from immigrants, but for some reason it wasn't politically feasible to simply outlaw immigration. In that case it would work to "give the immigrants extra rights," in the terms assumed by this discussion, by requiring that all immigrants be paid $120/hour, have only a 21 hour workweek, be paid 22x overtime, be entitled to a corporate mansion, and be entitled to 23 years of severance pay if they left the job.

I'm not claiming that just because it's a symmetric limitation it necessarily has symmetric effects, or that it's strictly impossible for relatively mild restrictions like the ones in question to on average benefit the workers at the expense of the employers. But I do think it's strange to assume that net benefits to workers follow naturally, given that the limits are symmetrical. (And it's even stranger given that it's easy to construct cases where the obvious is obviously losses both to workers and to employers, e.g. by applying the minimum-work-standard rules above not just to immigrants but to all programmers. So while I grant that the limitations in questions do add costs for employers, it doesn't follow that the losses are just wealth transferred to the employees.)

You talk funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278675)

Your verbiage is as thick as the Amazon rainforest, but has less attractive frogs.

Re:Contract? (3, Informative)

Naikrovek (667) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278664)

don't think so. you can't sign away the effectiveness of the law. a law is a law, and contracts have to obey that law as well.

Overtime and telecommuting? (5, Interesting)

Rewtie (552738) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278553)

I work for a Cali based company, although I live in Orlando, FL. I'm just a contract employee with them, and do not get overtime (nor do I expect it).

What I am wondering is if this applies to people who are working full time and telecommuting to a company outside of their state? I am under the impression that one falls under the guidelines of the state they reside in, but I could be wrong.

Just for the record, although I do not get paid OT with the CA company, they're very generous in their allotted coding time.

In the Current Economy... (3, Insightful)

johnkoer (163434) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278555)

In the current economy, you should be happy that you have a job. My company has been treating employees very poorly for the last year or so, but we don't have much of a choice. There are not too many people hiring in my neck of the woods and those that are, are being inundated with resumes from all the unemployed people. It's hard just to get an interview these days.

Just be happy that you have a job!

Re:In the Current Economy... (3, Insightful)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278621)

Just be happy that you have a job!

Roman to Christian, Circus Maximus, 10BC.

Re:In the Current Economy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278718)

My company has been treating employees very poorly for the last year or so, but we don't have much of a choice.
Of course you do - you have nothing to lose but your chains!

California? (4, Insightful)

Manos Batsis (608014) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278557)

How about the rest of the world? The question should read "Are IT workers out there on the globe being paid overtime?". The answer, of course, is usually no.

Gotta love the Liberals (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278558)

Let's hear it for the liberals!

Nevermind how the market is doing, nevermind how the company is doing, nevermind how cash flow is, you WILL be paid overtime, even if it drives your company into the ground.

Gotta love California.

Re:Gotta love the Liberals (5, Interesting)

john.r.strohm (586791) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278650)

Time for a history lesson.

The labor movement in the United States is given credit for establishing the 8-hour workday and the 40-hour workweek. In actual fact, what made those things happen is that the first companies to adopt those standards, as opposed to the prevailing 12+ hour workdays, saw their profits INCREASE immediately, as their scrap, rework, and accident rates went down immediately. Tired workers make mistakes and those mistakes cost money.

Time-and-a-half pay for overtime serves a dual purpose. It both attempts to compensate the employee for the additional toll on his life, AND it serves to remind the employer that those additional hours are HARD on EVERYONE.

Eventually, as overtime hours increase, scrap, rework, injury, sickness, and everything else will also increase. Overtime pay laws are there to "persuade" the employer to hire more people rather than working their existing staff to death.

Re:Gotta love the Liberals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278694)

Yeah, them fuckin liberals. I never fail to be amazed that there are people who live for their employers. Maybe years ago when an employer looked out for you and kept you on when things got rough it was different. In todays climate where employees are dumped at the slightest economic downturn and trickle down economics stop at or just above mid management, it's different. I used to view employment as an agreement between an employer and employee that would provide both parties with what they needed. A reasonable amount of work in exchange for a good wage and a retirement. This has changed to an attitude among a lot of employers that view their best assets as simple pawns to be worked an unreasonable number of hours and dumped when things get a little tight. I might have a little sympathy if there weren't notices of bonuses for upper management posed the same week there were layoffs due to yet another magnificent failure of policy. You, sir are a symptom of one of the things that's wrong with this country these days - when it comes to what's right and just somebody cut your balls off.

Overtime pay for programmers? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278559)

I doubt it. Not when there are thousands of programmers in countries like India who will gladly code for next to nothing. For every programmer who manages to get overtime pay due to this law, half a dozen will end up unemployeed because their job got shipped to foreign developers.

Re:Overtime pay for programmers? (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278570)

hehe. Well, you know I really hope that a lot of corps will outsource their stuff to India for a while, that will make a lot of work for folks here in trying to untangle the mess.

I have seen one of these projects up close, and I can tell you it wasn't pretty. Probably there are examples to the contrary, but in this particular case they ended up spending roughly double what it would have cost them to do it locally in the first place.

Re:Overtime pay for programmers? (2, Interesting)

corygm (467349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278600)

We have a number of these projects and they've all gone to hell in handbasket. The Senior Programmer / Analysts spend their time doing analysis and the fun work gets shipped off to be screwed up by people that think Java is an alternative to herbal tea. Talk about sucking the soul out of something that used to be fun!

Re:Overtime pay for programmers? (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278615)

just wait until they invent the cross breed between child labour and outsourcing, that'll be a party.

On a more serious note though, keep in mind that the only reason these outsourcing projects look enticing - any kind of them, white collar work, blue collar work, that's irrellevant - is because the wealth in the world is distributed unevenly.

Re:Overtime pay for programmers? (0, Offtopic)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278628)

moderation sucks... this got moderated to flamebait ? It's one of the best posts so far. Someone correct this please...

Go on strike! (4, Insightful)

forgoil (104808) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278562)

The situation for people working in the US seems to be quite bad, at least to me. Isn't it time you guys start a proper union and start raising some hell?

And how much paid vacation time I get per year? 6 weeks. How many weeks do you get in the states? And yes, I am only 26.

Complain, make it better, do something (and get free Coca Cola as mandatory).

(and if you happen to run a cool and nice company, with proper benefits, consider hiring me;))

Re:Go on strike! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278609)

What worries me most is hearing of some of the shocking states of workers in the US. and mod me down for complaining about things worth complaining about. Seems every askslashdot with questions about work conditions brings up the "be glad you have a job" comments.

Yes, be glad you have a job... then in 15 years after y'all are continually 'glad just to have a job' and being paid less and less, working longer hours, with less benefits and worse conditions... it gets closer and closer to not having a worthwhile job at all

No I'm not in the US, yes I'm employed, and I'm earning a decent amount without insane overtime expectations because my co-workers and I won't take shit from our employers. We'll accept when there are hard times or projects that need extreme amounts of dedication to finish, but as for consistent long term crap... no way.

Re:Go on strike! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278641)

Why is this labeled as "flamebait"? Parent is completely right, workers have a very little rights in the US.

I live in Europe, and my employer has told me NOT to do overtime, since it will hurt my studies.

Re:Go on strike! (2, Insightful)

spRed (28066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278727)

We have a thing over here, it is called
"Vote with your feet"

Leave, get another job on better terms. If you can't get a job on terms you like better, tough cookies. You are not entitled to one. The idea that if everyone banded together then more money to pay workers would magically appear is rediculous.

You can complain that you get less of the company profits as an employee than the investors. Again, vote with your feet and start a company. People do it everyday. Most millionaires in the US got that way by starting their own business which is still a small business.

If you pass a law that says 6 weeks vacation for everyone you disallow people to _choose_ to take a job that offers more pay in exchange for less than six weeks of vacation.

Re:Go on strike! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278734)

The situation for people working in the US seems to be quite bad

I'm an American currently working in Germany which is supposed to be a worker's paradise. I moved here 6 months ago to work for an accounting firm just because I thought it would be fun to live in Europe for a little while.

My work experience has been much less kind then I expected. The company is great, and the people aree nice, but the conditions are definitely not 'pro-worker.' My contract has a minimum 40 hour work week, I pay my own insurance, and my salary is less than half what it was in the States. My co-workers are literallly awed by the pay and benefits that I got in the US.

And the job market is just as bad here as it is in the US. In fact, unemployment is even higher here.

Anyone who claims that Europe is a better place to work isn't telling the whole story.

what happened to salary... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278565)

then they own your ass


Looks like (4, Informative)

Enry (630) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278567)

This only applies to hourly workers who get paid less than $41/hr. If you make more, you're exempt. If you're salaried, you're exempt. Unless the laws of CA are different from elsewhere (and I worked for two CA companies).

It's been a LONG time since I've been an hourly employee.

Re:Looks like (1)

geniusj (140174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278644)

Nope. If you make less than $85,000 in CA in the "technology" field, they are required to make you non-exempt. Non-exempt salary, the best of both worlds :)

Re:Looks like (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278716)

This only applies to hourly workers who get paid less than $41/hr.

No, it applies to _anyone_ who gets paid less than $41/hr -- for the math imparied, that's either $82,000 or $85,280, depending on how you calculate your yearly hours worked.

If you make more, or if you're an exempt (management) employee, you don't get paid overtime. For the longest time it was claimed that coders were exempt because they sit in an office--which the feds apparantly found not to be true.

IANAL, but your union would probably have a few if you bothered to found one.

wait a minute..... (1)

slummerx86 (642287) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278568)

working OT is going to bring your hours up right? and you wage per hour is your salary divided by your hours worked? so if they make you work longer hours (from time to time is how they usually sneak it into your contract) then your wage per hour has to drop, and that might well be a drop from >41 to 41

come on my lovelies!!! :)

Re:wait a minute..... (1)

geniusj (140174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278656)

the hourly rate which the law demands is calculated based on a 40 hour work week. They are required to pay you overtime if you work over 40 hours a week OR you work over 8 hours in one day. So basically, you could work 9 hours one day and get time and a half for it even if you worked only 40 hours that week. If you were non-exempt salary (which is what most of the people affected by that law become) then you get paid for all 40 hours plus time and a half for one hour.


Grudgingly, but they pay it... (4, Informative)

The Night Watchman (170430) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278589)

I work as a developer for a defense contractor on the East Coast, and they do indeed give paid overtime, as well as flex time. Of course, they've been trying to get rid of that for years. Then again, if they did that, they'd have to raise salaries, because they're vastly non-competitive on base pay alone. Then there's my manager, who tells me to bring my work home and do it on the weekends, without pay, and without charging my time to the contract, which is actually very illegal. And we're not talking minimum security illegal, we're talking federal pound-me-in-the-ass illegal.

But yes, as long as we're here sitting at our desks, typing away like good little code monkeys, we do get paid overtime. For now.

/* Steve */

seriously (3, Funny)

sawilson (317999) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278590)

I'd be quiet if I were you and just be happy that
your manager occasionally comes down from on high
to mingle with the commoners. Make sure to kiss
the feet of your corporate masters who see fit to
pay you at all. Remember, you are just a smartass
know it all computer person and people like you are
literally a dime a dozen in India. You'll bend over
if you know what's good for ya. :)

MEANWHILE, back on CHRISTMAS ISLAND (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278594)

WHOIS results for
Generated by
Looking up at

Registrant Information:

Domain Name:
Creation Date: 2001-07-10 09:35:12
Expiration Date: 2005-01-06 00:00:00
Last Modified: 2002-12-09 12:18:34


Status: Active

Registrar: Christmas Island Technology Corp (citc)
Whois Server:

Labor laws are different state to state (4, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278603)

Sometimes VERY different. This makes the subject matter of the article rather vague and only directly applicable to California IT workers.

Here in NYS, last time I looked ( which I admit was a couple of decades ago) one could be legally made salaried management for only $251.25/wk, and once you are salaried the only work time restriction your employers face is the requirement that you make at least minimum wage if your time were tracked on an hourly basis and that you have at least one day every fortnight off.

So, as always, check your *local* labor laws and consult a *local* lawyer with a specialty in labor contracts.

Oh, yeah. Do it *before* you sign anything.


You need to actually read what you're linking to (1)

haydukelives (586397) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278616)

The page you link to states: "Legislation (Senate Bill 88) that exempts hourly-paid computer workers who make at least $41 per hour..."

Are you hourly-paid? If you are, I'd say you're getting screwed.

If you're paid salary, then you have no beef. The bill (pdf) states that exemptions to the overtime pay requirement can be made for "executive, administrative, and professional employees, provided that the employee ... customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independendent judgment in performing those duties, and earns a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage..."

I think that pretty well covers you doesn't it?

If you don't like it, quit. Go work for one of those thousands of IT companies where you show up at 8 and leave promptly at 5...I hear most of them are hiring. hahahahaha

Why the heck ... (1)

joshwa (24288) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278620)

... is this in the "Slashdot" topic?


Overtime? Bleh. Try Unemployed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278624)

The Unemployed don't get paid enough. ;) There should be a pity wage for unemployed creatures, eh I mean people.

Why is the info in PDF format? (0)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278629)

Doesn't the California state government realize that just because PDF stands for "Portable Document Format" that it isn't automatically accessible to all taxpayers? That just because the price on Adobe Acrobat Reader is $0 doesn't mean I have the option to run it.

Obviously not.

Re:Why is the info in PDF format? (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278698)

huh?. PDF is about as close as you get to a truly multi-platform. There are loads of free (GPL) readers out there for it.

Re:Why is the info in PDF format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278722)

actually, not every tax payer has acces to The Internet. So maybe they should shut all their web sites down?

Re:Why is the info in PDF format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278733)

and it's not like they used WinWord or something

PDF is an open standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278732)

..just as ASCII, XML, PostScript, HTML, etc is. Alternatives to Acrobat Reader exists, for example GV, KGhostView, and XPDF. As far as I understand, Adobe even follows its own standard entirely, in contrast to other companies (RTF anyone?), so if there's incompabilities, that's likely to be bugs in the implementation.

PDF is "automatically accessible to all taxpayers" just as much as HTML is.

So publishing official documents in PDF is perfectly all right, the way I see it. Or is your problem simply that it was a company who came up with the standard, as opposed to some voluenteer engineering taskforce?

In my company..... (2, Interesting)

RichMeatyTaste (519596) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278633)

As soon as you hit project manager you lose your eligibility for overtime. Oddly enough project managers work more overtime than anyone else.

I like my worker bee status.... salaried but get paid for time over 40.... I suppose I will eventually be assimilated as well.... but that's tha nature of us tech workers right? Once you hit a certain age you better be ready to enter management of some sort.... you don't see a lot of coders after 40...

41/month in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278638)

Go ahead, send those jobs to India!

There is overtime and ... (4, Interesting) (102718) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278639)

Around here overtime is one thing. That is when you are told specificly to stay longer to work on a specific project. Needs authorization from a manager / project manager in each occasion. That will cause extra money.

But if you are just a little short of time, have been surfing too much etc, then it is not overtime, but extra hours you are expected to give by your own free will. Depending on your salary, you might give 5 minutes, 15 minutes or even 30 minutes per day for free. Above that, and you usually get overtime, or have a job where the contract does not list any weekly number of hours.

What programmer gets paid by the hour??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278643)

Never heard of such a thing.

Just to clarify... (1)

ShadowWalk (46565) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278649)

California law indicates that an employee with a base rate of >$41/hour is non-exempt. This means the employee is entitled to overtime pay, but is required to punch a timecard, docked for not working 40 hours, etc. I believe there are some other stipulations about non-exempt employees as well (lesser benefits at most companies) but I'm not sure what specifically...

Or you could, you know, ask people who know (5, Informative)

rockville (14298) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278651)

Looks like the /. crowd is saying "suck it up" or "there's nothing you can do". Well, actually, there is.

here's part of the California Dept of Labor FAQ [] about Overtime

Q. What can I do if my employer doesn't pay me my overtime wages?

A. You can either file a wage claim eve with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (the Labor Commissioner's Office), or you can file a lawsuit in court against your employer in to recover the lost wages.

Q. What can I do if my employer retaliates against me because I told him I was going to file a wage claim for unpaid overtime?

A. If your employer discriminates or retaliates against you in any manner whatsoever, for example, he discharges you because you file a wage claim or threaten to file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner, you can file a discrimination/retaliation complaint with the Labor Commissioner's Office. In the alternative, you can file a lawsuit in court against your employer.

Here's what I would do if I were you:

1. Call the California Dept of Labor and ask them.
2. With your newfound information, talk to your boss
3. If circumstances warrant, file a wage claim.

Just because the economy is bad does not mean that you lose all of your rights.

You may be due for backpay and then some (5, Informative)

jonin (471268) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278653)

I found this article at

by - Carl Khalil, Esq.
June 05, 2002

If you are like most people, you have been led to believe that if you are an executive, professional or administrative employee, you are doomed to work 60 hours per week and receive no overtime pay for your efforts, just a set salary. However, it's time to think again.

One study has estimated that 39 billion of overtime pay is owed to "salaried" employees in the United States who should actually be paid overtime at time and a half when they work over 40 hours in a week. If you are one of these salaried executives, professionals or administrators, often called white collar employees, you might be interested in knowing how likely it is that you may be entitled to a share of this money.

The Title Game. First, there is the title game. You have a big fancy executive or professional sounding title so your employer does not pay you overtime. Unfortunately for employers, federal overtime laws say that the job title is irrelevant; it is the actual work duties that control. For example, several current and former Waffle House Managers who regularly worked 80-100 hours per week were not paid overtime because they were called "Managers," which is typically an executive position and therefore exempt from overtime pay. However, in reality, the Managers spent most of their time waiting tables, cooking and washing dishes. Hence, they recently won an award of $2.86 million for unpaid overtime when a Tennessee court held they had been misclassified as executives.

The Salary or Fee Basis Rule. Second, even if you truly are a white collar employee under the overtime laws, you must be paid on a salary basis (often called the no docking rule) or the employer loses the exemption from owing overtime pay. For professionals and administrators, employers may also pay you on a fee basis. If you are not paid according to the strict salary or fee basis rules, the employer must pay you for your overtime even if you truly are a white collar employee. These rules are frequently violated leading to enormous potential overtime exposure.

To be on a salary basis means that an employee is paid a set amount each week regardless of the hours they work, with some narrow exceptions. In one recent case, Pharmacists at Wal-Mart, who would normally not receive overtime pay as professionals, were sometimes told to go home early when work was slack, and had their pay reduced as a result. A Colorado court held that the salary basis rule was violated and the Pharmacists were owed overtime. In another case, former Managers at an auto parts store had their pay subject to deductions for cash shortages. Once again, an Ohio court held that the salary basis rule was violated and awarded unpaid overtime to the Managers.

The fee basis rule is rather simple. It means you are paid a flat fee to do a task regardless of how long the task takes. In a recent case, a professional home care nurse, Wendy Elwell, who regularly worked 60 hours per week, won over $50,000 plus her attorney's fees when the court held that her compensation arrangement did not qualify for the fee basis rule because she was paid not only a set fee for home health care visits, but also additional compensation for lengthy visits.

Independent Contractors. Another area where misclassification commonly occurs is with independent contractors. If someone is under the control of the employer and not functioning as a true free lancer in business for herself, it is likely that she is really an employee, not an independent contractor. While contractors are not covered by overtime laws, employees sure are. In one recent case, a chauffeur at Bell Atlantic won an overtime award when the court ruled him to be an employee even though Bell Atlantic treated him like an independent contractor.

Overtime Remedies. Under federal law, an employee or ex-employee has two years to bring an overtime claim, three years for willful violations. Some states extend these times under their own overtime laws, and indeed grant broader overtime rights to employees than under federal law. Moreover, a successful employee will normally receive an award of DOUBLE their unpaid overtime, plus their attorney's fees in pursuing the claim.

In sum, just because you are white collar and paid on a salary does NOT mean that you should not receive overtime pay. Because sometimes you most certainly should.

Carl Khalil is a Virginia Beach, Virginia attorney and the founder of the website, which is devoted to helping employers and employees learn about their overtime rights and duties. Mr. Khalil is also the founder of, which has been featured on the NBC Today and in nationally syndicated career columns.

If I were a full-time programmer in CA... (2, Insightful)

mizukami (141102) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278661)

I'd likely be glad I had a job, let alone overtime... ;-)

Who cares? (1)

peterpi (585134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278666)

Laws like this suck. It all evens out in the end. If you're not happy about your overtime situation, consider changing your job. If you feel lucky to have a job at the moment, stop complaining.

Employer discretion.. (1)

FungiSpunk (628460) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278672)

I have been in IT for the last 12 years and basically the attitude has always been, we expect you to work out of hours to meet dealines, if it goes over an "unreasonable" amount of hours, then we'll pay up. "unreasonable" is determined by the employer!! Like the man said earlier, be happy you still got a job!! Out of hours callout has always been OT or no call out!!!

Not getting paid? WTH (5, Insightful)

myom (642275) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278686)

IT businesses in USA seem to be the western equivalent to Nike sweat shops. Why would you NOT get paid for spending the remaining hours of your already limited time off work? Here in the communist soviet nordic countries, and most civilized EU countries, you get paid 150% or 200% of the hourly wage. And before you start talking about bringing down companies to their knees by them actually paying their workers, last time I checked, the nordic software/tech companies are doing just fine. But here I guess the terrorists have already won or what?

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt (2, Interesting)

matastas (547484) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278689)

Interesting concept. Most of the soft-e's I know are all full-time salaried employees, and thus exempt from overtime compensation. In fact, I've never seen a full-time position that was eligible for overtime unless it was union (then again, I haven't seen them all). In return, you get stuff like benefits, sick time, insurance, a steady check, etc.

Oh, and the 'be-thankful-you-have-a-job' crowd? Shut up. Just because you're unemployed and bitter doesn't mean that the rest of us who are working our asses off (and believe me, we are) aren't entitled to our employers following the established laws.

Software engineer making less than US$41/hr? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278692)

(posting as AC since my co-workers read /.)

How many software engineers in California make less than US$41/hr?

I live and work in the midwest (NOT CA), and I make US$37/hr or so. I'd probably make 2x that in California.

That is like saying "I'll pay US$1M a year to any software engineer who is not composed of baryonic matter." - Nice, but meaningless.

Public Companies part of the problem? (4, Interesting)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278695)

This is slightly off-topic, but it's related. A lot of the crap that goes on whether it be screwing employees out of pay, muddled decisions etc - it seems to me that it most often happens to companies that have publically traded stocks.

I work for a fairly large company ($80-100 million), but it is all privately held. They treat their employees with respect (for the most part, though bad managers tend to not be around for too long), have great benefits, pay overtime, heck they even spend a fair chunk of change on the Christmas party.

My theory is that companies like the one I work for, and others of similar size can work a lot better and can afford to treat their employees better if they so choose etc, because they are not tied into the tempests of the public stock exchange. They don't have share holders to constantly report too (well there are share holders, but all within the company). They don't have to worry about losing millions if a bad report comes out. All the money the company has is 'real'. Sure they didn't have the huge inlay of capital at first, but instead a solid business and careful spending, meant that eventually the company became quite profitable and more importantly, remains profitable.

Does this make any sense?

Read above the dotted line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278701)

Did you get hired? Did you sign anything when you got hired? If so, I'd suggest reading what you signed, when you got hired. Those employment agreements I signed always made a point of calling me an exempt employee, which meant no OT, since I was salaried.

Well, Feds are going to change that anyway (2, Interesting)

xyote (598794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278708)

See here [] for some more information.

RTFA! (1)

mrbuckles (201938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5278709)

Or, in this case, Read the F***ing Statute.

There are a ton of exemptions which would make it perfectly legal for the employer not to pay you overtime for your work. The
Some of the others...If you do systems analysis and consult with users, If you program an OS (I am NOT making this up).

It really looks like this law is intended to grant overtime not to software engineers (or hardware engineers), but to (say) data entry folks.

You're fired. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278724)

Sometimes you guys amaze me. I'm not sure if it's the Gen-X'ers, or the prima-dona IT guys, or the combination.

If you came to me with this concern, I would find a polite way to say "You're fired". I have hundreds of resumes passing through my hands each month, and I am just appalled to hear the ungratefulness of some of the people who HAVE jobs. Try being unemployed for 6 months, as some of these folks have been. Then see if you want to bite the hand that feeds you.

Yes, I agree that employers should be held accountable by the law. But look at this... $41/hour? That's like $80K. You're telling me that if I hire a $75K programmer, I have to pay him overtime? That's an easy decision. I choose not to expand or incur the headcount of a 75K+ overtime programmer. Give me a break. That is a bonehead law which will put downward pressure on hiring. If that's the law, then I choose not to hire.

If he's on staff now, and I have to pay him overtime, he's fired. (Call it a business restructuring.) I KNOW in this economy I can do just fine with 1 less programmer (or fire the whole staff, for that matter... SO many of these people on the street will perform contract services.)

Work for hire laws permit me to let you go without cause.

Your value to the company must exceed your cumulative cost, and by a large factor. Otherwise you are expendable. Bitch, and that adds to the cumulative cost. Bitch some more and you are gone. No questions asked.

I hired a Gen-X-er who had the NERVE to bitch about his cell phone, which is purely a perq - he doesn't need it for the job. Since it wasn't perceived as a perq, and it was costing us money, I said "cancel it". Next he bitched about something else, and I recommended him for immediate termination. Who has time for whiners in this economy? We are trying to make a living - and if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

There's a line outside of people who want your job. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

What productive programmer doesn't work 40 hours? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5278728)

Welcome to globalization.
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