Salary Equity Law Signed by Governor Brown Affecting Private Schools

By lfsuser on September 18, 2016

Private schools and their teachers welcome the passage of recent legislation, signed by Governor Brown, amending Labor Code Section 515.8. The legislation addressed the impact of California’s increasing minimum wages on private schools and teachers. In general, teachers have been professionals, exempt from overtime, provided they earn at least two times the state minimum wage. However, because of increases to California’s minimum wage law over the next five years, private schools (especially those operating in urban areas with financially-challenged parents and guardians) were concerned with their ability to provide affordable education in their communities. This vitally important compromise was reached for private schools and their teachers, retaining their exempt status, but creating “salary equity,” by benchmarking the private school teachers’ future compensation to the future compensation of their counterparts in public schools.

AB 2230 amends an existing overtime exemption under Labor Code Section 515.8 for individuals employed as a teacher at a private elementary or secondary academic institution.

Beginning on July 1, 2017, this salary-basis exemption will be replaced by a new salary standard that will be based on the starting salaries of public school teachers. To be exempt under Labor Code Section 515.8, as amended, a private school teacher will need to earn the greater of either:

1. No less than 100% of the lowest salary offered by any school district; or

2. The equivalent of no less than 70% of the lowest schedule salary offered by the school district or county in which the private elementary or secondary academic institution is located.

K-12 private schools will need to determine public school salaries in the school districts where they are located. The law applies to teachers with a bachelor’s degree or a teaching credential. It does not apply to any teaching assistant, instructional aide, student teacher or day care provider.

This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions. It is intended to provide general information about legal developments and is not legal advice. If you have questions about the contents of this alert, please contact Peter Glaessner at (415) 697-2000 or pglaessner@aghwlaw.com.