California Overtime Laws 2024 – What Every Worker Should Know

Frank S. Clowney III

In California, a full work shift is considered eight hours, and any labor conducted beyond that time should be considered overtime. Similarly, a full work week is 40 hours, and any work performed past that point is also considered overtime. Ideally, employers would always honor these basic guidelines and respect the rights of employees, but there are often situations where a California overtime lawyer is needed to fight for back wages and other forms of compensation.

What Are My Work Rights Under State Law?

California has extensive laws and regulations governing workplaces and labor. As of January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in California is $16 per hour. Additionally, employers are required to provide breaks for workers. When employees work more than five hours a day, a 30-minute meal break must be provided during that time frame.

Paid sick leave is another right workers have under state law. Sick leave must be made available to anyone who has worked at least 30 days within one year. Workers are also protected from harassment and discrimination. This includes age discrimination.

One of the most important protections workers enjoy in the Golden State is the right to overtime wages. Overtime is calculated at 1.5 times the worker’s regular pay rate, meaning anyone making minimum wage earns $24 per hour during overtime. Workers have the right to be fairly paid for every minute they work, including for any pre-shift and post-shift duties.

Common Examples of Overtime Violations in California

There are several situations in which you may need the legal help of an unpaid overtime attorney in San Diego, CA. One of the most serious violations that can occur in the workplace is an overtime violation. If a worker puts in more than eight hours of labor during a day or more than 40 hours during the week, that employee is entitled to overtime.

Sometimes, managers may make the mistake of not counting every hour worked. This may be done under the guise of off-the-clock work. One example is an employer expecting the worker to perform work-related activities outside of business hours. If you have been required to work outside of normal work hours, you may be entitled to overtime for those tasks.

Overtime violations may also result from improperly calculated overtime. Any time spent working in addition to eight hours per day or 40 hours per week should be compensated at 1.5 times the worker’s regular pay.

An employer may also violate overtime laws by misclassifying an employee as exempt from receiving overtime. If you have experienced any of the violations mentioned, you can consult with a California overtime lawyer to better understand your rights and potential legal actions under California’s employment laws.

When Is It Time to Seek Legal Representation?

Many workers may feel reluctant to speak up about overtime violations, but overtime laws are intended to protect all workers. Worker retaliation is illegal in the Golden State. Your boss cannot take retaliatory actions against you simply because you exercise your rights by filing a wage and hour claim.

Legal representation allows your attorney to act on your behalf and in your interests. Any employer who retaliates against you could be subject to penalties, meaning that misconduct could result in additional damages being awarded to you.

Hiring a California overtime lawyer is a critical step because overtime wages are a right and not a privilege. When a boss or employer fails to honor this right, the results can have detrimental consequences for the worker’s personal and professional life. If you seek the legal counsel of an experienced employment attorney, they can investigate your case and file complaints as needed.

In many cases, the complaints can be settled outside of court through monetary compensation and assurances that future overtime violations will not occur. If your case requires active litigation, an attorney can fight to protect your rights while seeking just compensation for your lost wages through the court system.


Q: What Are the Overtime Rules for California Employees?

A: California’s overtime laws are clear, although there are exceptions. Most workers, both in the public and private sectors, are entitled to overtime wages if the worker puts in more than eight hours during one day or 40 hours during one week. Wages must be calculated accurately, and any tasks performed before and after regular work hours must be included in those calculations.

Q: What Are the New Labor Laws for 2024 in California?

A: Effective January 1, 2024, the minimum wage was raised to $16 an hour. SB 616 enhances the state’s paid sick leave law. Employers must now frontload 40 hours or five days of paid sick leave at the beginning of each year. The previous laws required frontloading of 24 hours or three days per year.

Q: Does PTO Count Toward Overtime in California?

A: No. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, paid time off does not count toward overtime. PTO does not fall under the definition for hours worked, according to state laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, employers do not need to consider PTO when calculating a worker’s hours during a day or week.

Q: Can You Work for 10 Hours Without Overtime in California?

A: No. Employers are barred from withholding overtime for any employee who works more than eight hours within one day. Any time spent working after eight hours must be compensated at 1.5 times the worker’s normal wage. Any work performed after 12 straight hours must be compensated at twice the worker’s wages.

Schedule Your Consultation With an Experienced California Overtime Lawyer

The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III is here to protect your work-related rights. Our legal team has successfully litigated on behalf of clients who were not properly paid for their time on the clock. If you believe you are not being paid fairly for your work hours and are possibly due additional wages, we can assist you.

California’s overtime laws are clear. Any employer who does not compensate workers for tasks performed before and after regular work hours may be in violation of overtime laws. If you are the victim of an overtime violation, don’t hesitate to protect your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III can fight for your rights, so contact our office today to schedule your consultation.