California Overtime Laws
When we are employed, it is quite common to find ourselves working overtime. In fact, you might even find yourself working overtime. However, when it comes to working overtime in California, there are a number of overtime laws that you need to understand.
There are at least six types of workers or employees who are not entitled to OT or overtime pay and they include:
- Workers with a specific alternative schedule for workweek
- Independent contractors
- Specified occupations with their unique and different OT rules
- Unionised employees who are present under a CBA or collective bargaining agreement
- Exempt employees
These are some exemptions to higher wages for overtime. Otherwise, the only individuals or workers who are entitled to obtain higher wages for overtime are employees who are non-exempt[i].
It is important to note that non-exempt employees, under California law, tend to get mandatory and essential overtime pay if they are working more than:
- Six days in a week consecutively
- A workweek in which they work for over 40 hours
- A workday in which they spend over 8 hours working
Generally, non-exempt employees or workers are entitled to overtime wage or pay if they are working over eight hours in a single or individual day. Similarly, when they consider working more than eight hours a day, they are entitled to overtime pay. Actually, unless the employer determines otherwise, a normal workday tends to include working for eight hours. Regardless, employees are still entitled to pay for overtime if they are working for eight hours[ii].
The overtime pay rate in California generally includes time and a half. It means that the overtime calculations are performed in such a manner that they are one and a half times of the regular pay rate of a worker. Still, it should be noted that employees must consider paying double-time wages which are twice the regular rate of wage for an employee when employees are working over 12 hours in a single day.
It should be noted that hours worked tend to include time that is spent working and performing required tasks and rest breaks, meal breaks, commuting, job preparation, and on call periods. All of these times are also included in overtime hours in which the employee has worked.
Actually, for employees who are paid on a weekly basis, twice a month, or even twice a week, employers tend to have specifically seven calendar days after the payroll period close to pay all the necessary overtime wages. Employers, otherwise, have to pay overtime by the regular second payday that follows the overtime work.
In this manner, employers have sufficient extra time for the collection of enough money for making good when they are working overtime.
The employer can be sued by the employees for unpaid wage in terms of overtime in a traditional lawsuit case. Now, if an employer tends to retaliate against the employee for the wage claim, a retaliation complaint can be filed by an employee. Unpaid overtime complaints tend to make the most common and typical claims in the wage and hour law of California.
In case employers do not pay overtime wages, employees can also file a wage claim with the DLSE or Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
In California, non-exempt employees can receive and obtain overtime pay even if it is unauthorized overtime. It means that even if the employer did not specifically tell them to consider working for extra hours, they are still entitled to the overtime wage. All that is really required and needed is that the employer was aware of or should be aware that employees were working overtime and for extra hours.
Under the overtime laws in California, employers are capable of requiring overtime. In addition, employers have the authority of disciplining workers who do not agree to it. An exception exists that employers cannot really consider disciplining those workers who refuse and deny to work for the seventh day.
It is important to note that employees in California are not really required and needed to take comp time (compensating time off) or paid time in lieu of being paid for their overtime work. However, the employer can be asked by employees for comp time rather than overtime if all the following are authentic and true:
- An already written agreement exists regarding the matter
- The employee or worker has not really accumulated over 240 hours
- The employer was asked in writing by the employee for comp time rather than overtime
- 40-hour work is performed by the employee
Actually, it depends on the fact whether the employee is piece-rate, salaried, or hourly waged. However, despite the case, the regular pay rate of a worker might not be lower than the minimum wage with only a few exceptions.
[i] California Labor Code section 510; see California Labor Code (LC) 2661; see also Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders, California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR); LC 1173; see also the federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
[ii] LC 510