Many people have misconceptions about paying salaried workers. It’s really a simple formula but there is a catch.

State and federal laws have always used the same calculation to determine the minimum amount an exempt employee can be paid: 2 X minimum wage X 2,080 = minimum salary.

There are two important things to remember:

(1) According to law, you must pay an exempt (salaried) employee at least twice as much as a minimum wage full-time employee.

(2) The minimum salary is owed no matter how many or how few hours they work.

If you only pay a portion of the minimum salary because that person only works part-time for you, you have automatically converted them to an hourly employee and now need to worry about overtime and meal breaks. If you pay exactly the minimum required but that employee takes off more sick time than they have available, you’ll still have to pay for those days off so the employee won’t earn less than the minimum.

Now that you have the calculation for minimum salary memorized, forget it. The feds are changing things and we expect the minimum salary to be $50,440 by November. This will no longer be based on a calculation; it’s just going to be the minimum allowed by federal law.

Right now, the California minimum salary is $41,600. By the end of the year, we expect the minimum to be $50,440. That’s a huge increase and now is the time to be giving this some thought so you’re ready to take action later this year.

About Your Columnist

CJ Westrick is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers all things human resources and managing people in the workplace. CJ Westrick, SPHR, has been in human resources (HR) management for over 20 years and has maintained her SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) national certification since 2002. She started HR Jungle, a human resources consulting firm, in 2006 to provide senior-level HR expertise to businesses without internal HR.

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