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California Labor Laws for Overtime Lead the Way

California labor laws for overtime are more stringent than any other state’s overtime laws.  They are designed to be more favorable to workers rather than employers, and because of their complexity, many employers fail to comply properly with the laws.

  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the general guidelines for overtime pay nationally
  • State overtime guidelines get more specific, especially in California
  • California requires daily overtime pay
  • California has many narrowly defined exemptions
  • FLSA does require employers to keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid
  • California is one of the states that have record keeping requirements (pay stubs)

The national overtime standard set by the FLSA is 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for any hours worked over a 40 hour workweek for all non-exempt employees.  California labor laws for overtime get even more specific.  California also requires daily overtime at a rate of 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for any hours worked over an 8 hour workday.  When work exceeds 12 hours in one day, all non-exempt employees are to be paid twice the standard rate.  Furthermore, if an employee works 7 consecutive days in the workweek, they must be paid 1.5 times the usual rate for the first 8 hours, and double time for any hours over 8 on the 7th day. This is known as the “7th consecutive day law” and it applies regardless of how many hours an employee has worked in the preceding 6 days.  The FLSA time-and-a-half overtime requirement for hours worked over 40 hours also applies in California.

Nationally, in order for an employee to be exempt from overtime pay, the job position must have the specific job duties for one of the exemptions included under the FLSA.  However, California overtime laws have numerous narrowly defined exemptions, which can be confusing and result in a misclassification of employees.  For example, you can be eligible for overtime in California even if you a labeled a “part time” employee, or you supervise other people.

There has been a steady climb of wage and hour class action lawsuits against employers who are misclassifying their workers as exempt in recent years, and not just in California.  An example of a class action of this nature can be seen in a current case entitled Willix et al v. HealthFirst, Inc.et al. This is a good example of how a simple misclassification can lead to millions and millions of dollars in fines, penalties, and overtime reimbursement at the hands of the offending employer.

California labor laws for overtime are notorious for being a minefield for the uniformed. This is why it is not recommended that you try to figure out everything for yourself.  If you think you are a victim of any wage and hour law violation in the state of California, or any other state, contacting an overtime lawyer is the smartest way to go.

Finally, California is also unique in that it is one of the few states that have record keeping requirements, or pay stub requirements.  According to California Labor Code Section 226(a), every time you are paid, whether by check, in cash, or otherwise, you must be given a detachable part of the check or a separate writing showing required information.

California labor laws for overtime are designed to protect you, the employee.  If you have questions about federal and/or state overtime laws, contact us for a free and confidential evaluation.