Compensation Issues
California Overtime Laws: What You Should Know
California Overtime Laws: What You Should Know

California Overtime Laws: What You Should Know

California has very strict laws regarding overtime pay that apply to most hourly workers except for certain occupations. Essentially, when a worker works more than a particular number of work hours in a workday or workweek, they are entitled to overtime pay. 

Claims for unpaid overtime make up the bulk of complaints filed under the state’s wage and hour laws. Also, the majority of settlements are associated with unpaid overtime claims in the state. Employees must understand their legal right to overtime to make sure that they receive all the wages they deserve. 

Understanding Overtime Pay

Overtime pay is basically one and ½ times the employee’s standard pay rate. But not all employees are entitled to overtime. Also, there are different overtime rules for farmworkers and domestic workers. 

In California, employees are considered eligible for overtime if any of the following apply to them:

  • An employee that worked more than eight hours in one workday
  • An employee that worked more than 40 hours in one workweek at their standard pay rate.
  • An employee that worked on the seventh day in one workweek

On the other hand, the following classification of workers are not entitled to overtime pay: 

  • Independent contractors
  • Exempt employees
  • Outside salespeople
  • Unionized workers
  • Employees on an alternative workweek schedule
  • Specified occupations that have their own overtime rules

Common Overtime Complaints and Issues All Workers Should Know

  • Not Giving Overtime Pay for Meal and/or Rest Breaks – Employers are lawfully obligated to pay wages for all the hours an employee worked. This means that employees who are allowed or instructed to work through meal breaks must be given overtime pay for those breaks. The paid rest periods must also be included when calculating overtime wages.  
  • Getting Compensating Time Instead of Overtime Pay – It’s unlawful for employers to require employees to take comp time or paid time off instead of overtime pay. But employees can request comp time under certain circumstances.
  • Not Giving Overtime Pay to On-Call Workers – Depending on the situation, employees may be entitled to overtime pay for hours they spent “on call.”
  • Not Getting Overtime for Job Prep – Tasks that workers must perform in preparation for their work duties must be considered “hours worked” when they’re an indispensable and vital part of their job. 
  • Not Paying Overtime for Unauthorized or Off-the-Clock Work – If a worker receives an hourly rate, the employer must record those hours, including any overtime pay for off-the-clock work. 
  • Not Receiving Overtime Pay for Travel Times or Commutes – If an employee is required to travel for work, the travel time must be counted as “hours worked,” and the worker must be paid overtime for those hours, if applicable. 

Consult a Top California Employment Attorney Today

If you’re concerned that your employer hasn’t been paying the overtime wages you are entitled to, don’t hesitate to discuss your case with our California employment attorney. Reach out to Minnis & Smallets and set up your consultation with our California employment attorney by calling 1-415-551-0885 or completing our online form

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