California Law for Overtime
California law for overtime is arguably among the toughest overtime law in the U.S. Californians place a high value on protecting their most defenseless workers—low wage earners who often receive only the minimum wage. These workers are most often those who rely on their paychecks for day to day expenses and don’t have enough in savings to be able to risk their jobs by saying no to extensive overtime hours that could be detrimental to their families, and as such are protected under California law for overtime.
The differences between those covered by the California wage and hour laws are very clear-cut. Non-exempt employees who are covered by these FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) based laws are usually, but not always, low wage earners who receive the minimum wage paid hourly.
* If they work more than 8 hours in one workday, they must receive overtime pay (1-1/2 times their regular hourly wages) for each hour worked in excess of 8. If they work more than 12 hours in one day, they must be paid 2 times their usual hourly pay rate.
* All non-exempt workers who work more than 40 hours in one workweek must also be paid overtime at the rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly wage per overtime hour worked.
* Whenever employees work 7 days in a row, they must be paid overtime for each hour worked on the 7th day, and 2 times their usual hourly wage for any hours worked in excess of 8.
* California also has stringent requirements for labor law meal and rest breaks when employees work more than 5 hours in a single day.
* Common overtime problems are especially prevalent in the following fields/positions: mandatory overtime for nurses, computer IT techs, and independent contractors.
Employee misclassification often happens when an employee is given a title such as Assistant Manager, but them spends most of the workday performing the same tasks as the rest of the employees. Some cases brought under California law for overtime have involved employees who had been misclassified as exempt employees in which the companies had to reimburse the employees for overtime pay that had been withheld.
Just like the Federal requirements, California law for overtime is based on the premise that all non-exempt employees must be paid for all the work they actually do whether at work, at home, at a customer’s location and whether on or off the clock.
Even work that is not authorized by the employer must be compensated. Some of the most common overtime violations in California involve employees being required to perform duties or attend mandatory training either before or after normal work hours. This is what is known as working “off the clock.”
Beginning with the foundation laid by the Federal legislature in the FLSA FairPay overtime rules, California law for overtime now exceeds those requirements. In fact, California law has become so complex that most workers and some employers are confused as to what is and is not legal. This has led to a plethora of lawsuits as the California court system seeks to define these issues for the workplace.
If you work in California and think that you may have been misclassified under California law and are owed outstanding overtime, complete our online Case Evaluation Form and one of our experienced lawyers will help you decide if you have a good legal case against your employer.