Labor Code sec. 515.5 defines when computer software professional in California can be considered exempt. The requirements are both vague and detailed.
The vagueness comes from requiring that the employee be “highly skilled” and “proficient” in “theoretical and practical application of highly specialized information to computer systems analysis, programming, and software engineering.” Those terms just don’t lend themselves to precise definition.
Here’s the detailed part. The employee must be paid at a rate that started at $36 per hour in 2006, but increased annually thereafter “by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the California Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.” I did a post in 2011 about how to find that figure. The first step was to go to the website for the Industrial Welfare Commission, which no longer exists. The best way I know of now is to start searching on the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement website in early October for the increases taking effect the next January 1st.
The new rates came out last week. Effective January 1, 2016, for computer software professionals to be considered exempt, they must be paid a minimum of $41.85 per hour or $87,185.14 per year. Here’s the announcement. Employers with exempt computer software engineers in California should make sure that those workers are paid at or above that threshold. Again though, that’s only one of the criteria for the exemption.