When California employers must pay overtime

Frank S. Clowney III

In California, an eight-hour workday is considered a full day’s work. Forty hours constitutes a full workweek. Hours worked in excess of eight hours in one day or 40 hours in one week are compensated for no less than one and one half times the normal hourly rate. On the seventh consecutive day of work, the first eight hours of work should also be paid at the rate of one and one half times the employee’s hourly wage. After 12 hours of work in a single day, employees are to be compensated at two times their hourly wage. Anyone working more than eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work should also receive double his or her hourly wage. These rules don’t apply to independent contractors.

Employees can work with employers to create an alternative work schedule that includes up to 10 hours in a single work day over a 40 hour work week. These employees are to be paid one and one half times their hourly wages for more than eight but less than 12 hours in a single work day. Employees are to be paid double their usual wage for hours worked in excess of 12 hours in a single day.

Bargaining units may negotiate different pay structures for overtime. Union agreements may stipulate work hours, wages and conditions. Bargaining unit staff must be paid at least 30 percent above the state minimum wage for overtime hours worked.

An employee who has been denied maternity leave, denied meal and rest breaks, misclassified as a salaried employee or misclassified as a contractor may be due unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act. An investigation may uncover whether the Equal Pay Act was violated and if employees experienced unpaid overtime.

Source: California Labor Code, “Labor Code Section 500-558”, October 06, 2014