Talent Sourcing

What is a Non-exempt Employee In California?

Published on June 5th, 2023

In California, there are two types of employees that businesses need to be aware of: exempt and non-exempt. Exempt employees are those who are exempt from certain wage and hour laws, such as overtime pay. Non-exempt employees, on the other hand, are entitled to overtime pay and other rights under state and federal law. As a recruiter or hiring manager, it's important to understand the difference between the two types of employees, as misclassifying an employee can result in costly legal consequences. In this guide, we'll take a closer look at what it means to be a non-exempt employee in California and what you need to know when hiring and managing these employees.

What is a non-exempt employee?

A non-exempt employee is an employee who is entitled to overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a workweek. Under California law, non-exempt employees are also entitled to meal and rest breaks, minimum wage, and other protections. In general, non-exempt employees are those who perform hourly work or have a job that does not require a specialized skill or license, such as administrative, clerical, or sales positions.

How is non-exempt status determined?

In California, non-exempt status is determined by the employee's job duties and salary. To be considered exempt, an employee must meet certain criteria, such as performing executive, administrative, or professional duties, and earning a salary that meets or exceeds the minimum salary threshold set by the state. If an employee does not meet these criteria, they are considered non-exempt and are entitled to overtime pay and other protections.

What are the wage and hour laws for non-exempt employees?

Non-exempt employees in California are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their regular rate of pay for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. They are also entitled to a 30-minute meal break after working for five hours, and a 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked. Employers are required to keep accurate records of non-exempt employees' hours worked and pay.

How can you effectively manage non-exempt employees?

To effectively manage non-exempt employees, it's important to understand their rights and responsibilities under state and federal law. This includes ensuring they receive overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and minimum wage as required by law. In addition, employers should establish clear policies and procedures for timekeeping, scheduling, and communication with employees to ensure compliance with wage and hour laws. Providing training and support to supervisors and HR staff can also help reduce the risk of legal claims.

What are the consequences of misclassifying employees?

Misclassifying an employee as exempt when they are actually non-exempt can result in costly legal consequences, including back wages, penalties, and legal fees. It's important to understand the criteria for exempt and non-exempt status and to accurately classify employees from the outset. If you are unsure whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt, it's best to consult with legal counsel.

Discover Non-exempt Employees with EasySource

EasySource revolutionizes the recruitment process by introducing the world's first fully automated talent-sourcing tool designed specifically for non-exempt employees. This groundbreaking solution simplifies the task of recruiters by effortlessly creating a robust talent pipeline with just a few clicks. Leveraging AI-powered filters, such as location, skills, education, experience, and US work authorization, EasySource empowers recruiters to effortlessly identify and connect with relevant candidates.

Moreover, EasySource integrates ChatGPT and Generative AI, enabling recruiters to send highly personalized messages to potential candidates across various platforms, all while benefiting from automation. By leveraging these advanced features, recruiters can amplify their search efforts on LinkedIn and efficiently engage with potential non-exempt candidates, eliminating the arduous task of sifting through countless resumes to find exceptional talent.


Understanding non-exempt employees in California is critical for recruiters and hiring managers. By following wage and hour laws and accurately classifying employees, businesses can avoid costly legal consequences and build a more productive and engaged workforce. We hope this guide has provided valuable insights into non-exempt employee classification, and we recommend consulting with legal counsel or HR experts to ensure compliance with state and federal law.



Radhika Sarraf

Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.

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