Attorney General Bonta Joins Multistate Coalition in Support of Fair Wages for Salaried Exempt Workers

Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta joined a coalition of 14 attorneys general in submitting a comment letter supporting a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that updates a rule exempting executive, administrative, and professional (EAP) employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements (EAP Exemption). DOL’s proposed rule raises the salary required to qualify for the EAP Exemption, expanding overtime protections for millions of workers nationwide.

"In a state and nation that depends on the hard work of individuals, it is our duty to ensure every worker is treated fairly and equitably," said Attorney General Bonta. "This proposed rule not only recognizes the changing landscape of our workforce but seeks to correct historical gaps in wage protections. At the California Department of Justice, we are committed to championing the rights of every worker, ensuring they receive the remuneration they rightfully deserve."

Since 1938, DOL’s regulations have considered salary levels to determine the EAP Exemption. While salary levels were historically brought up to date once every few years, a large gap in updates existed from 1975 to 2004. The failure to regularly update the salary levels eroded the value of considering salaries; the regulations failed to keep pace with rising wages and other economic realities, expanding the exemption to lower-paid employees who previously would not have qualified. DOL’s proposed rule rectifies this ongoing issue by raising salary levels and creating an automatic update of salary levels under its regulations.

Large categories of employees can be misclassified as EAP exempt, such as fast-food first-line supervisors (executive), clerical workers (administrative), or film and television production assistants (professional). The misclassification of non-EAP workers as overtime-exempt has serious effects. It deprives them of significant income; forces them to work longer hours; increases stress, health problems, burnout, and turnover; undermines their work-life balance; and reduces employment opportunities for other workers as employers rely on misclassified employees to work additional hours rather than expanding their workforces.

Attorney General Bonta champions workers’ rights and supports policies that reinforce the rights of low-wage workers and expand worker protections.

In submitting the letter, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Massachusetts, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the comment letter is available here.

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