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Skip Navigation LinksADLA Administrative Handbook > Chapter 5 - Personnel > 5.6 - Compensation > 5.6.1 - Staff Categories, Employee Classification, and Wage Rules

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​5.6.1 Employee Classification, Wage Rules, and Staff Categories

​​​​​​Staff includes all lay employees, priests, deacons with employment assignments, women and men religious, and certain volunteers who serve by performing specific duties. For matters of compensation, lay staff members are categorized as "employees." The legal assumption is that most workers are to be categorized as employees; categorizing a worker as an independent contractor should be considered the exception to the rule. Clergy and religious are compensated under arrangements described in Religious Staff​Priest Personnel Policies and Guidelines, and Clergy – Deacons. Even when performing specific duties, volunteers cannot receive any compensation.

Job descriptions for positions in parish offices, cemeteries, and mortuaries are available from the Human Resources Department. Job descriptions for schools are available from the Department of Catholic Schools at 213-637-7293.  Job descriptions for other operating entities may be submitted to the Human Resources Department for evaluation and classification prior to posting or revision.

Wages, hours, and working conditions are governed by local, state, and federal laws. Laws governing overtime pay establish two classifications of employee: exempt and non-exempt. The Human Resources Department​ helps locations determine the correct employee classification as exempt or non-exempt.  These rules apply at time of hire or for any change in employment status or position.

Once an employee has been classified as exempt or non-exempt (use the Decision Chart​ as a guide), the person in charge is required to provide that information to the archdiocesan Payroll Department, along with information about other elements of the employee's compensation, such as authorized deductions, vacations, and sick day accruals. Changes to an employee's classification, compensation, or deductions must also be reported to the Payroll De​partment. Questions can be directed to or 213-637-7570​.

​Introductory Period

All new regular full-time and part-time employees and/or those transferred or promoted to a new position have an introductory period of 90 calendar days. An introductory period employee may be granted an extension of one to three months if more time is needed to evaluate the employee's performance. Some positions may require a longer introductory period due to the nature of the responsibilities involved. The purpose of the introductory period is to assess the employee's performance and ability to carry out the requirements of the position. It also enables the employee and employer to determine whether to continue the employee's employment. Exempt Employees

Federal and state laws define an "exempt" employee as a worker who is paid a fixed salary, which is not based on the number of hours worked, and who holds a managerial, administrative, or professional position. (For example, a parish business manager, a principal, a director of religious education). Exempt employees are not entitled to receive overtime pay if they work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. Their exempt status is based on their duties and responsibilities and their compensation in accordance with federal and state laws.

An exempt employee is paid a fixed salary for any week in which the employee performs work, regardless of the number of hours or days worked, unless the employee misses a whole day of work during a workweek for personal reasons not associated with sickness or accident and performs no work for the entire day. The nature of the job will sometimes require more than 40 hours of work a week. All exempt employees, except for teachers, must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Earn a fixed weekly/monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage that is not adjustable depending on hours worked (for certain benefit calculation purposes an exempt employee's hours are considered the equivalent of a full-time 40 hour week)

  • ​Customarily and regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment on the job 

  • Be "primarily engaged" in performing the exempt duties of the job (i.e., devote more than half of the work time to those duties) 

Exempt Salary Deductions

Exempt employees receive their predetermined salary for any week in which they perform work, regardless of the number of days or hours worked or the quality and quantity of the work. Moreover, deductions may not be made from the employee's regular compensation for absences caused by the employer where the employee is ready, willing, and able to work. Deductions from an exempt employee's salary may be made only in the following circumstances:

  • The employee does no work at all for a full workweek, regardless of the reason.
  • The employee is absent from work for a day or more for personal reasons (other than sickness or disability—see the next bullet point) and does no work at all that day.

  • The employee is absent because of sickness or disability and the employer has a bona fide sick pay plan in place that pays the full amount of the salary. In this case, the time absent may be paid out of (deducted from, in other words) the accrued sick leave or, if the employee has exhausted his or her accrued sick leave, any accrued vacation time may be used, provided that is part of the employer's sick/vacation policy. Exempt employees who are absent because of illness or disability and who have exhausted their accrued sick or vacation time must be paid their regular salary, unless they are absent for a full workweek and do no work at all during that time.

Paying Exempt Employees for Sick and Vacation Time (if a bona fide sick pay and vacation plan is in place)

Exempt employee is out a whole day and did no work

  • Use accrued sick or vacation time to pay, depending on the nature of the absence – use sick for medical absence; vacation for personal absence.
  • If not enough sick or vacation time is accrued:
Use accrued sick or vacation time and PAY for the extra hours absent.

If no time is accrued, PAY salary for the entire day if salary drops below minimum.

If salary doesn't drop below minimum, do not pay.

Exempt employee is out part of a day and did some work 
  • Pay salary for hours worked.
  • Pay for time out with accrued sick or vacation time, depending on the nature of the absence – use sick for medical absence; vacation for personal absence.
  • If not enough sick or vacation time is accrued:

Pay salary for hours worked.

Pay out accrued sick or vacation time, AND

Pay salary for the number of hours sick or vacation time falls short.  

​​Note:  Locations may choose to deduct accrued sick leave hours from exempt employees only for whole days off sick.  Partial sick days are paid as regular salary.

Per Diem or Daily Salary Calculation

The per diem or daily salary is used to make the appropriate salary deductions. The method to be used is established by state law.

  • The predetermined monthly salary is multiplied by 12 to find the yearly salary. 

  • Locations using a 26 (biweekly) pay period schedule should multiply the biweekly salary by 26 to calculate the yearly salary; locations using a 24 (bimonthly) pay period schedule should multiply the bimonthly salary by 24 to calculate the yearly salary. 

  • The product of the multiplication is divided by 52 (the number of weeks in a year) to find the weekly salary. 

The usual number of days (regardless of the number of hours usually worked in any workday) the employee is scheduled to work in a workweek is divided into the weekly salary.

Compensatory Time Off

Exempt employees are not required to be paid additional amounts if they work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, or work on a weekend or holiday. Therefore, an exempt employee should not expect as a common practice to be able to take time off to "compensate" for any "additional" time worked. An exempt employee is paid a fixed amount, regardless of hours or days worked. If circumstances allow, the person in charge may permit an exempt employee to start work later than scheduled, leave early, or take time off without charging the time off work to that employee's vacation or personal time off.

See the Exempt Employee Attendance Report​. Non-Exempt Employees

Non-exempt employees include clerical, secretarial, maintenance, janitorial, and other workers. Non-exempt work is typically work that is standardized or involves routine mental, manual, or physical processes. In addition, non-teaching employees whose job duties could classify them as exempt, but whose monthly pay is less than twice the California monthly minimum wage, are also classified as non-exempt. Non-exempt employees must be paid at least the state or local minimum wage​​ ​and are entitled to overtime pay, when applicable.

Current archdiocesan policy provides that all non-exempt employees must be paid on an hourly and not on a salaried basis.​

Split Shift

Locations are required to provide employees with their regular work schedule. If employees are scheduled to work a split shift, which is defined as a gap of more than two hours in their work schedule, consult with the Human Resources Department to determine the proper method of calculating pay. For example, a sacristan who is scheduled to work from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., and then again from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. is working a split shift and may be entitled to receive extra pay.​

Flat Rate

Locations that pay non-exempt employees by the task or a flat rate (e.g., for coaching, singing at liturgies, or managing weddings or funerals) must consult with the Human Resources Department​ on the correct method of handling and recording such payment methods. ​

See Flat Rate G​uidelines ​​​and Independent ​​Contractor Guidelines.


Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a workweek or 8 hours in a workday. Non-exempt employees may not start work early or work past scheduled hours without prior written approval of the person in charge. However, if an employee works without approval he or she must be paid for the extra hours worked. Wages may not be withheld because an employee did not have approval to work. In such a case, the employee should be counseled regarding the consequences of future violations of this policy.

  • Archdiocesan policy requires that overtime must be approved in writing in advance by a person in charge. 

  • After 8 hours, up to and including 12 hours in one workday, non-exempt employees receive overtime wages of one and a half times their regular hourly rate.

  • For all time worked over 12 hours in one workday, non-exempt employees receive overtime wages of double their regular hourly rate.

  • Non-exempt employees receive one and a half times their regular hourly rate for the first 8 hours worked on the seventh consecutive day in any one workweek, and double time for any work performed over 8 hours on any seventh day of a workweek. 

  • Paid or unpaid absence from work (e.g., holiday, vacation, and sick leave) does not count for the computation of overtime hours in the workweek. 

Meal and Rest Breaks

Non-exempt employees who work more than five hours in a day are required by law to be provided with an uninterrupted minimum meal break of 30 minutes before the start of the fifth hour of work (that is, no later than 4 hours and 59 minutes after the employee "clocks in" for the day). If they work more than 10 hours in a day they must​ be provided a second meal break of 30 minutes before the end of their tenth hour of work. An employee can waive the second meal period only if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The total hours worked in that workday are not more than 12

  • The person in charge and the employee mutually consent in writing

  • The first meal break of the workday was not waived.

Employees should not be permitted or asked to work during the meal break. The meal break does not have to paid, but the time taken off for the meal break must be recorded accurately, to the minute, on the employee's time card​. 

Non-exempt employees who work up to six hours in a day may agree to waive their meal break. This agreement must be mutual, voluntary, and can be withdrawn by the employee at any time. "Best practice" is to document the meal break waiver in writing, signed by the employee.  See the Meal Break Waiver Request: Employee Shift 6 Hours or Less.

California law requires rest breaks for non-exempt employees whose total daily work time is three-and-a-​half hours or more. The mandatory rest period should be in the middle of the work period and must be at the rate of at least 10 consecutive minutes for every four hours (or major fraction of four hours) worked. Generally, any time worked over two hours is considered a major fraction. The rest break is paid, but does not have to be recorded on the employee's time card.

Note: Government agencies impose significant penalties for an employer's failure to provide and/or record the meal and rest breaks as required.  Time sheets that record the same time in and out every day are not considered accurate time records, and time sheets that simply record "lunch" without providing the hour and minute in and out are subject to the presumption that they are incorrect and may result in the imposition of wage penalties.  Locations should use the Time Sheet for Non-Exempt Employees.

Make-Up Time

Make-up time allows non-exempt employees to take time off to attend to their personal obligations, and then to make up that time without receiving payment of overtime provided the following rules are met:

  • The employer must have approved a signed, written request for make-up time submitted by the employee before the make-up work is performed. 

  • Make-up time must occur within the same seven-day workweek as the time taken off from work. 

  • If make-up work is performed during the workweek in which time was taken off, the employee is not owed overtime pay for make-up time, except for hours worked in excess of 11 in one workday or in excess of 40 in one workweek. 

An employer is prohibited from encouraging or requiring an employee to request make-up time; the archdiocese does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or discourage the practice of make-up time. Employees who perform make-up work without prior approval are not automatically entitled to overtime pay and should be counseled regarding the consequences of future violations of this policy.

See Make-Up Time Request Form for Non-Exempt Employees. Occasional Employees

An occasional employee is hired on an "as-needed" or "on-call" basis. The occasional employee is classified as non-exempt, paid hourly or per diem, as suited to the nature of the job. Locations must keep accurate time records of the occasional employee's work hours, pay through the archdiocesan payroll service, and deduct required state and federal withholdings from the employee's paycheck. Occasional employees are not eligible for benefits, except as required by law. Temporary Employees

A temporary employee is normally hired to work for a specific period to fill in for an absent staff member, perform a specific short-term task or project, or assist in heavy workload situations that are for a limited period of time. Temporary employees are not eligible for benefits except as required by law. If a temporary employee is contracted through an employment agency, availability and eligibility for benefits are determined by the agency, including those required by law. If a temporary employee is hired as a regular employee, for benefit eligibility purposes the official hire date will be the date temporary status is converted to regular employment.​  If a location intends to use an employment agency, the contract with the agency should be submitted to the Office of Legal Counsel​ for review before signing. Joint Employees

A joint employee works at more than one archdiocesan location. For overtime, sick pay accrual, health insurance, retirement,​​ and other benefits, the locations where the employee works should jointly consult with the Ins​urance Department​ and the Human Resou​rces Department​​ for guidance.​