California Overtime and Labor Laws

California Overtime Pay & Wage Laws

California’s labor laws are enforced by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) in the California Department of Industrial Relations. If an employer breaks any California overtime laws, employees can file a claim to recover lost wages. Private actions to enforce California’s wage and hour laws, and recover unpaid overtime and other amounts due to workers, are commonly brought by employment law firms such as The Lore Law Firm on a contingent fee basis (no fee if no recovery).


California features some of the most progressive overtime laws in this country. For example, California overtime laws require daily overtime pay if eligible employees work more than eight hours in a day. Only a few states currently provide this benefit.

The state overtime laws in California are in addition to the standard 40 hour weekly federal overtime regulations. While paying some laborers as day rate workers is a common way employers try to avoid paying workers overtime, California employers must pay California day rate workers overtime if their hours go beyond the legal thresholds set by state and/or federal labor law.

The calculation of overtime pay for day-rate employees in California is different than most other states and under federal wage law.  The California Labor Commission takes the position that, ordinarily, the hours to be used in computing the regular rate of pay may not exceed the legal maximum regular hours which, in most cases, is eight hours per workday, 40 hours per workweek. So, when a worker is paid a daily guarantee or day-rate regardless of the number of hours worked per day, the day-rate is divided by 8 hours to obtain the rate of pay on which overtime is calculated.

For example, if an employee works 10 hours each day for 5 days, at a day-rate of $300, their base pay would be $1,500 for the week plus $562.50 in overtime pay under the calculation used by California law.  If the overtime calculation used under federal law were applied, they would only be due $150 in overtime pay for the same workweek. That’s a 3.75 times difference in the amount of overtime pay a worker is owed under California versus federal overtime pay law.

California day rate employees can be found in many different industries, including Hollywood, Technology, Finance and Energy. A day rate pay scheme is not illegal under wage and overtime laws in California, but it does not relieve an employer from its obligation to pay properly calculated overtime to non-exempt employees. The Lore Law Firm can help eligible workers with any California day rate issues and help them receive the compensation they deserve.

California Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers

If you live in California and believe you are not receiving the overtime pay or meal / rest breaks that you are entitled to, fill out our convenient Case Evaluation form for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL review of your circumstances. Our lawyers can help determine whether or not any CA overtime laws or other labor laws have been broken, and there is no fee unless you get a recovery.