California Labor Code section 515.6 exempts certain licensed physicians and surgeons from overtime compensation if they receive set minimum hourly compensation. Effective January 1, 2020, the California Department of Industrial Relations is increasing the minimum from $82.72 to $84.79 per hour, effective January 1, 2020.

To avoid California’s requirements to pay overtime premium rates after eight hours worked in a day or 40 in a week, employers will need to pay eligible physicians or surgeons that minimum hourly rate, keeping accurate track of hours worked.

Under Labor Code section 515.6, a doctor is exempt-from-overtime only if he or she is a licensed physician or surgeon “primarily engaged” (more than 50% of the time) in duties that require that licensure. California Business & Professions Code section 2052 specifies such duties, requiring a medical license for anyone who “diagnoses, treats, operates for, or prescribes for any ailment, blemish, deformity, disease, disfigurement, disorder, injury, or other physical or mental condition of any person.”

Employers relying on this exemption will of course need to implement this rate change by the January 1 deadline.

Physicians and surgeons paid on a lump sum salary (whether weekly or otherwise) will not qualify for this exemption but may otherwise be excused under the administrativeexecutive, or professional overtime exemptions.

For more information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

December 5, 2019

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