California Increases the Minimum Hourly Pay Rate for Licensed Physicians and Surgeons to Qualify for Overtime Exemption « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

California Increases the Minimum Hourly Pay Rate for Licensed Physicians and Surgeons to Qualify for Overtime Exemption

California Labor Code section 515.6 exempts certain licensed physicians and surgeons from overtime compensation.  The criteria includes set minimum compensation. The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) recently increased this minimum, effective January 1, 2013.

Employers will now have to pay otherwise qualified physicians and surgeons the equivalent of at least $72.70 per hour, up from the current $70.86 rate. The new rate translates to $12,601.33/month or $151,216/year.

While persons who qualify for this exemptions need not be paid at “time-and-a-half” or “double time” rates for overtime hours, the rules still require employers to accurately document the actual number of hours such qualified persons work.  While companies commonly direct employees to track their hours worked, employers are primarily responsible for ensuring those records are truthful and complete.

Under Labor Code section 515.6, an employee is an exempt-from-overtime worker only if he or she is also a licensed physician or surgeon “primarily engaged” (more than 50% of the time) in duties that require that licensure. For instance, California Business & Professions Code section 2052 requires 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 who use this overtime exemption for their workforce will need to incorporate this rate change into their pay practices by the end of 2012.  For assistance, contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney.

Licensed medical doctors also may be qualified for other exemptions from overtime compensation, including the administrative, executive, or professional exemptions.  Each of those categories of course carries its distinct qualification rules.

 

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