California Labor Laws for Overtime Lead the Way

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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 are having a hard time complying.

  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the general guidelines for overtime pay nationally
  • State overtime guidelines get more specific, especially in California
  • California and Washington are required to pay daily overtime wages
  • California has many narrowly defined exemptions
  • Employers make many mistakes in determining overtime pay in California
  • 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 pays a daily overtime 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, they must be paid 1.5 times the usual rate for the first 8 hours, and double time for any hours over 8. 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, they must typically be a salaried worker, and must pass several tests regarding job description and duties performed at work as defined by the FLSA.  However, California labor laws for overtime has slews of narrowly defined exemptions, which has been causing employers to become confused and, as a result, are misclassifying their employees.  For example, you can be eligible for overtime in California 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.

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 feel your employer is in violation of federal and/or state overtime laws, contact an overtime lawyer today.