The law is about to change...

Teacher8The section of the California Labor Code governing the exempt status of private school teachers is being amended.  Under the current law, which will remain in effect until January 1, 2017, private school teachers must be paid a minimum salary of $3,466 per month, or $41,600 per year to qualify as exempt employees.  There is no proration provision for part-time teachers.

Effective January 1, 2017, the private school teacher exemption will no longer be tied to the state minimum wage.  Instead, an earnings threshold that is directly linked to salaries earned by local, credentialed public school teachers will be employed (effective July 1, 2017), and an earnings floor will be established to ensure that no exempt private school teacher is paid less than the lowest salary offered anywhere in the state to a credentialed public school teacher.  (See text at right, or view the side-by-side comparisons of the current law and the amended law, below.)

Appearing below are examples of how salary thresholds for exempt status will work when the new law goes into effect, and a side-by-side comparison of Section 515.8 of the California Labor Code as it currently exists, and as it will exist on January 1, 2017:

In brief...

On September 12, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2230 (Chu) into law.California

  • AB 2230 amends one of the criteria used to determine the exempt status of California’s private school teachers.
  • Effective January 1, 2017, the current twice-minimum wage paid on a monthly basis criterion will no longer be in effect.
  • Effective July 1, 2017, to qualify for exempt employee status, private school teachers will need to earn the greater of:
    • no less than 100 percent of the lowest salary offered by any school district to a person who is in a position that requires the person to have a valid California teaching credential and is not employed in that position pursuant to an emergency permit, intern permit, or waiver, or,
    • the equivalent of no less than 70 percent of the lowest schedule salary offered by the school district or county in which the private elementary or secondary academic institution is located to a person who is in a position that requires the person to have a valid California teaching credential and is not employed in that position pursuant to an emergency permit, intern permit, or waiver.

HowItWorksExample 1

If the lowest salary currently offered to a credentialed teacher employed by the public school district, or county in which your private school is located is $50,378, your teachers would be required to earn no less than the greater of the following to qualify for exempt status:

1)  $50,378 X .70 = $35,265    or,

2)  the lowest salary currently offered to a credentialed public school teacher anywhere in the state. 

If, for example, the lowest salary offered statewide is $30,000, then $35,265 would be the greater of the two figures, and teachers in your private school would need to be paid no less than $35,265 to be deemed exempt.


HowItWorksExample 2

If the lowest salary currently offered to a credentialed teacher employed by the public school district, or county in which your private school is located is $40,472 your teachers would be required to earn no less than the greater of the following to qualify for exempt status:

1)  $40,472 X .70 = $28,330   or,

2)  the lowest salary currently offered to a credentialed public school teacher anywhere in the state. 

If, for example, the lowest salary currently offered, statewide, is $30,000, it would be the greater of the two figures, and teachers in your private school would need to be paid no less than $30,000 to be deemed exempt.


The Current Law

California Labor Code Section 515.8.  
(a) Section 510 does not apply to an individual employed as a teacher at a private elementary or secondary academic institution in which pupils are enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive.
(b) For purposes of this section, “employed as a teacher” means that the employee meets all of the following requirements:
(1) The employee is primarily engaged in the duty of imparting knowledge to pupils by teaching, instructing, or lecturing.
(2) The employee customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment in performing the duties of a teacher.
(3) The employee earns a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment.
(4) The employee has attained at least one of the following levels of professional advancement:
(A) A baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
(B) Current compliance with the requirements established by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, or the equivalent certification authority in another state, for obtaining a preliminary or alternative teaching credential.
(c) This section does not apply to any tutor, teaching assistant, instructional aide, student teacher, day care provider, vocational instructor, or other similar employee.
(d) The exemption established in subdivision (a) is in addition to, and does not limit or supersede, any exemption from overtime established by a Wage Order of the Industrial Welfare Commission for persons employed in a professional capacity, and does not affect any exemption from overtime established by that commission pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 515 for persons employed in an executive or administrative capacity.

CAPSO will continue to provide updates on the implementation of the new law.  Stay tuned!

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The New Law (effective January 1, 2017)

California Labor Code Section 515.8.  
(a) Section 510 does not apply to an individual employed as a teacher at a private elementary or secondary academic institution in which pupils are enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive.
(b) For purposes of this section, “employed as a teacher” means that the employee meets all of the following requirements:
(1) The employee is primarily engaged in the duty of imparting knowledge to pupils by teaching, instructing, or lecturing.
(2) The employee customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment in performing the duties of a teacher.
(3) On and after July 1, 2017, the employee earns the greater of the following:
(A) No less than 100 percent of the lowest salary offered by any school district to a person who is in a position that requires the person to have a valid California teaching credential and is not employed in that position pursuant to an emergency permit, intern permit, or waiver.
(B) The equivalent of no less than 70 percent of the lowest schedule salary offered by the school district or county in which the private elementary or secondary academic institution is located to a person who is in a position that requires the person to have a valid California teaching credential and is not employed in that position pursuant to an emergency permit, intern permit, or waiver.
(4) The employee has attained at least one of the following levels of professional advancement:
(A) A baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
(B) Current compliance with the requirements established by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, or the equivalent certification authority in another state, for obtaining a preliminary or alternative teaching credential.
(c) This section does not apply to any tutor, teaching assistant, instructional aide, student teacher, day care provider, vocational instructor, or other similar employee.
(d) The exemption established in subdivision (a) is in addition to, and does not limit or supersede, any exemption from overtime established by a Wage Order of the Industrial Welfare Commission for persons employed in a professional capacity, and does not affect any exemption from overtime established by that commission pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 515 for persons employed in an executive or administrative capacity.