Working Overtime in California

Basic Rules and Rates for Weekly or Daily Hours

California requires employees who are not “exempt” receive overtime pay for time worked beyond forty hours in any one workweek or after eight hours in a workday.

A “workweek” is any seven consecutive days, starting with the same calendar day each week beginning at any hour on any day, so long as it is fixed and regularly occurring.  It is thus a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours, seven consecutive 24-hour periods.

A “workday” is a consecutive 24-hour period beginning at the same time each calendar day, but it may begin at any time of day.

California’s overtime (“premium”) rates range from 1.5x to 2.0x an employee’s regular rate of pay. “Regular rate” is generally that worker’s total compensation for the workweek (including wages, piecework pay, bonuses and commissions) divided by the number of working hours in that week.  In no case may the regular rate of pay be less than the applicable minimum wage.

The rules include:

● Hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek are compensable at 1.5x regular rate;

● Hours worked over eight, but less than 13, in a workday are also compensable at 1.5x regular rate;

● Hours worked over 12 in a workday are compensable at 2.0x regular rate;

● The first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day in a workweek are compensable at 1.5x regular rate; and

● Hours worked over eight on the seventh consecutive day in a workweek are compensable at 2.0x regular rate.

These are some of the basic rules.  There are many other applicable laws and  regulations an employer must also grasp and apply. For instance, an employer may establish different workweeks for different employees, but once an employee’s workweek is established, it remains fixed regardless of his or her working schedule.

California also provides detailed rules for workers who qualify for exemption from overtime pay. See, e.g., “California’s Exemptions from Overtime”, “Administrators and Overtime Pay in California”; “The California Administrative Exemption”; “The California Executive Exemption”; “Is Your Commissioned Inside Sales Representative Exempt From Overtime?” and “The California Computer Professional Exemption.”

Navigation through and compliance with California’s overtime standards is best accomplished with the help of experienced legal counsel.



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