2024 How Is Overtime Calculated in California?

Frank S. Clowney III

Overtime pay can be crucial for many employees and their livelihoods. Unfortunately, many employees do not understand their rights under federal and California employment law, leaving them without overtime pay that is rightfully theirs. To learn more about your eligibility for overtime pay and your options for receiving what you are owed, contact a California wage attorney.

Who Qualifies for Overtime and Who Does Not?

Before explaining how overtime is calculated, it is important to understand who is eligible to receive overtime pay in any capacity. Most employees with a traditional employment relationship with an employer are protected under federal and state overtime laws, with a few exceptions:

  • Executive, Administrative, and Professional Employees: Typically, these types of employees are white-collar and receive salaries that are much higher than minimum wage. In order for an employee to be exempt from overtime under this criteria, they must receive over twice the minimum wage in their annual salary.
  • Salespeople: In order for an outside salesperson to be overtime exempt, they must sell some type of goods or service and spend at least half of their working hours away from their employers’ location.
  • Unions: Not all employees who are members of unions are overtime exempt. A union must mandate that their employees’ salaries be at least 30% more than the state’s minimum wage. The union must also outline other details, like working hours and overtime pay, that are specific to that union.
  • Specific Jobs: There are specific jobs that qualify as overtime exempt due to the nature of the employees’ job functions. These roles often require 24-hour care or extended hours, like summer camp staff, live-in healthcare staff, certain nursing home employees, and farmers or other employees in the agricultural sector.

Independent contractors are not eligible for overtime pay and are not protected by either federal or state employment laws. However, it is important to understand your employment status because many employers will misclassify their employees as independent contractors to avoid paying them overtime or giving them mandated breaks. If you are unsure about your employment status and access to benefits, contact a wage and hour attorney.

Calculating Overtime Wages

Overtime is typically calculated as 1.5 times an employee’s standard rate of pay. This rate applies to any employee who:

  • Works more than eight hours in a single workday
  • Works more than 40 hours in a single workweek
  • Works for seven days in a row in a workweek

In certain extreme cases, overtime pay is paid as double time, which is two times an employee’s standard rate of pay. This rate applies to any employee who:

  • Works more than 12 hours in a single workday
  • Works more than eight hours on the 7th consecutive day of working during a workweek

In this context, a workweek is dictated by the employer. They are allowed to state what day a work week starts. If an employee has not worked every day in that work week, then they are not eligible for double time.

Some employers are allowed to dictate alternative workweeks in which their employees are allowed to work up to ten hours in a workday. This is common in the healthcare field.

Comp Time vs. Overtime

In some cases, employees are allowed to receive paid time off instead of overtime pay. This is called compensatory time, or comp time. This is meant to be used in irregular circumstances. If an employee is eligible for overtime pay, their employer cannot force them to receive comp time instead of overtime pay, but the employee can request comp time instead if they want to.

In order for an employee to be eligible for comp time, they must be scheduled to work for at least 40 hours per week and cannot already have more than 240 hours of additional comp time. If the employee wants to request comp time, they must submit a written agreement to their employer before they work the hours that make them eligible for comp time. If this is approved, an employee is given 1.5 hours of paid time off for every hour of overtime worked.


Q: How Does California Calculate Overtime?

A: Employees working more than eight hours in one day, over 40 hours in one week, or for seven consecutive days in a row during a work week are entitled to 1.5 times their standard rate. If an employee works for longer than 12 hours in one day or works for longer than 8 hours and has worked for seven consecutive days in a row during a work week, they are entitled to two times their standard rate.

Q: Who Is Ineligible for Overtime in California?

A: Firstly, a worker must be considered an employee to receive protection from California’s overtime laws. This means that independent contractors do not qualify for overtime pay. Both salaried and hourly employees qualify for overtime pay unless they are an exempt employee. Certain employees are considered exempt, like executives, administrative workers, salespeople, live-in healthcare workers, summer camp staff, and nursing home managers.

Q: What Is the 8 80 Rule for Overtime in California?

A: The 8 and 80 rule specifically applies to hospital and residential care employees. These employers can use a 14-day consecutive work period instead of the standard 40-hour week. Under the 8 and 80 rule, an employee may receive overtime pay if they work over 8 hours in a workday and if they work more than 80 hours in a 14-day work period. An employee is beholden to one of these schedules and cannot change between the two.

Q: What Is the New Overtime Law in California?

A: Senate Bill 616, drafted by Senator Lena Gonzalez, was passed in California and goes into effect on January 4, 2024. Under this new law, employers are required to provide their employees with at least five sick days a year that are compensated. Before the new law, employers only had to provide them with three days. This law is unique to California and 15 other states that have required paid sick day laws in place.

Stand Up for Your Rights by Contacting The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III

Many workers do not understand their rights to overtime pay. If you believe that you are not receiving the overtime pay that you are entitled to, contact The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III to review your legal options. Don’t let powerful businesses intimidate you into not pursuing the money you are owed.