Category Personnel/Employment
Title California Governor Signs SB 621 Permitting the Salary-Basis Test for Part-Time Teachers at Private Schools to be Prorated...
Author/s Stacy Velloff and Brian P. Walter
Preview California Governor Signs SB 621 Permitting the Salary-Basis Test for Part-Time Teachers at Private Schools to be Prorated and Permitting Private Schools to Use Public School District Salary Data in Effect from the Prior School Year
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California Governor Signs SB 621 Permitting the Salary-Basis Test for Part-Time Teachers at Private Schools to be Prorated and Permitting Private Schools to Use Public School District Salary Data in Effect from the Prior School Year

Authors: Stacy Velloff and Brian P. Walter
Reprinted with permission from Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

On July 1, 2017, legislation took effect which lowered the minimum salary necessary for teachers at private schools to qualify as exempt from overtime and other wage and hour requirements (AB 2230; Labor Code §515.8). Rather than require that teachers earn at least twice the state minimum wage, which is the standard for other exempt employees, the new law tied the minimum salary requirement for teachers to the earnings of public school teachers at state and local school districts and county offices of education. SB 621, which the Governor signed on Friday, July 21, 2017, and which takes effect January 1, 2018, amends the law in two significant ways. 

1. SB 621 Permits Private Schools to Prorate the Minimum Salary Required for Part-Time Teachers to be Exempt

The salary-basis test for private school teachers may now be prorated. Thus, once a school calculates the minimum salary that must be paid for its full-time teachers to be exempt from overtime, the school may reduce that salary amount to correspond to the instructional schedule worked by a part-time teacher. For example, a teacher working half the instructional schedule of a full-time teacher would only need to earn half the minimum salary of a full-time teacher. This change to the law will greatly increase the number of teachers who qualify as exempt.  

2. SB 621 Permits Private Schools to Use Salary Data from the Prior School Year to Calculate the Minimum Salary Necessary for Exempt Status

Previously, the Labor Code required schools to calculate the minimum salary for teachers based on current contracts at public schools and the county office of education. That salary information was often hard to find and, when it was available, was often for prior school years. The new law attempts to remedy this issue by permitting private schools to use salary data in effect "for up to 12 months prior to the start of the school year." Though schools will still need to gather information to calculate the appropriate minimum salary for exempt status, the one-year look-back provision should make it easier for schools to find reliable information to use to set salaries for the upcoming school year.

Note: The new law does not revise any of the other requirements that teachers at private schools need to meet to be exempt. The levels of education and requisite duties have not changed. Moreover, those specifically excluded under the Labor Code, and therefore unable to be exempt from overtime and other wage and hour requirements, such as teaching assistants, must still be classified as nonexempt employees.

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore is a full-service Labor, Employment and Education Law Firm serving many of our member schools in California. www.lcwlegal.com 1-800-645-2696  

LLU 28.1

Notice: This article is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It has been provided to member schools with the understanding that ACSI is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Laws vary by jurisdiction, and the specific application of laws to particular facts requires the advice of an attorney.  

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