California Labor Laws – Overtime

Among the states, California has uniquely stringent labor laws. In January 2000, new overtime regulations went into effect for the state of California. According the California labor law overtime provision hourly workers working more than eight hours in a day must be paid mandatory overtime for all hours worked over eight hours. In addition, the California labor law overtime provision states that workers working more than twelve hours must be paid double time. Workers working seven days straight in a single work week must be paid overtime for the first eight hours on the seventh day and double time after eight hours. According to the California labor law overtime provisions a nonexempt employee 18 years of age or older, or any minor employee 16 or 17 years of age who is not required by law to attend school and is not otherwise prohibited by law from engaging in the subject work, shall not be employed more than eight hours in any workday or more than 40 hours in any workweek unless he or she receives one and one-half times his or her regular rate of pay for all hours worked over eight hours in any workday and over 40 hours in the workweek. Eight hours of labor constitutes a day’s work, and employment beyond eight hours in any workday or more than six days in any workweek is permissible provided the employee is compensated for the overtime at not less than: 1. One and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight hours up to and including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek; and 2. Double the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek. According to the California labor law overtime statute, everyone is entitled to overtime pay, unless they meet one or more of the narrowly defined exemptions. The exceptions to overtime pay are called “exemptions” because if you meet the qualification, you will be “exempt” from overtime pay. Thus, the legal terminology is that exempt means no overtime and non-exempt means you get overtime. The California labor law overtime provision has highlighted eight fields of work that are exempt from overtime. These exemptions are: * Executive Exemption * Learned Professional Exemption * Creative Professional Exemption * Administrative Exemption * Outside Sales Exemption * Computer-Related Occupation Exemption * Highly Compensated Jobs (Does not apply to non-public sector employees in California) * Physicians & Surgeons It is also important to note the way in which rate of pay is calculated in California. An employee’s regular straight time rate of pay is used for calculating overtime pay. The regular rate must include commissions, production bonuses, piecework earnings and the value of meals and lodging. Not included in the regular rate are: gifts or awards; vacation, holiday, personal day, sick leave or split-shift pay; reimbursed expenses; discretionary bonuses; profit-sharing plans; benefit costs paid by employer such as health or accident insurance, life insurance, retirement plan contributions. Overtime pay is also excluded from computing the regular straight time rate.

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