While looking into tax exemption requirements, I came across an article that seems to indicate software developers required to work over 40 hours/week either need to be paid overtime as an hourly employee or be paid a minimum salary of $90k.

In 2018, computer professionals may be exempt from overtime if they are paid at least $43.58 per hour or an annual salary of at least $90,790.07. The minimum compensation required to satisfy the exemption is recomputed every year to account for changes in the cost of living.

I independently built many of our products, most of my job is autonomous and very technical so I think I certainly meet the duties requirements described. However, I was paid bi-weekly as a salaried employee (and referred to as a non-hourly/exempt employee) and expected to work >40hrs a week (which is all logged in a self-reporting application). Let's say my annual pay (w2) was initially $60k. It seems like they either should have been paying hourly and subsequently overtime when applicable and/or paying the minimum salary as required by law.

Was my employer underpaying me by ~$30k? What is the industry understanding/standard? Is there something I'm misunderstanding about the exemption criteria? Are there loopholes for smaller companies?

Assuming I'm correct in my assumptions, how should I approach the subject with the CEO & what is the best course of action to address this?

Source: https://wrklyrs.com/CompProf

  • Are you in California? If so, please add that to the tags or body of your question.
    – jmoreno
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 1:51
  • 3
    To be honest, I think this question should be asked, and can be better answered, on law.stackexchange.com
    – Mawg
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 8:37

1 Answer 1


Your best bet is to consult with a lawyer, to see if this requirement applies to your situation. If you really think you are owed ~$30K, then it's certainly worth paying a lawyer for an hour of time.

If you do have a case, ask your lawyer for a recommended course of action. If you do meet with the CEO, do not threaten action -- emphasize that you are simply trying to help your employer comply with the law, and want to make sure your compensation is fairly determined.

If you experience any issues with your CEO at that point, consult with your lawyer again -- your lawyer should be able to help you escalate in the least confrontational way.

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