Under California law, non-exempt employees working over 8 hours in one day or over 40 hours per workweek must receive overtime pay for the additional hours. A workweek is considered six days and thus working additional hours on the seventh day over the 40 hour workweek, the employee must receive overtime pay.

The overtime laws also apply to minors 16-17 as well as all adults over the age 18. California is a no waiver state, meaning employees cannot elect or agree to work the additional hours at their regular rate or less; the employer must pay the overtime pay.

What is the Difference Between Regular Pay and Overtime Pay in California?

Regular pay is the compensation that an employee and their employer agreed upon when the employment relationship began. Usually, this pay is a set amount per hour. California overtime laws require the use of the employee’s regular rate in calculating their overtime pay.

If the employee works over 8 hours in one day they shall receive one and one-half times their regular rate for the hours they work beyond the eight hours in that day. That overtime rate continues up to and including 12 hours in any workday as well as the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.

The employee should receive double their 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.

How is Regular Rate Calculated?

The simplest rate to calculate is hourly. If the employee is paid hourly, that hourly pay will be the regular rate. If the employee is salaried, the regular rate is determined by multiplying the monthly remuneration by 12 (months) to get the annual salary.

Then, divide the annual salary by 52 (weeks) to get the weekly salary. Then, divide the weekly salary by the number of legal maximum regular hours (40) to get the regular hourly rate.

Overtime for employees who receive two rates of pay by the same employer in a workweek is calculated by using a weighted average and then applying a similar formula. Commission-based employees and employees who are paid by the piece they produce are also entitled to overtime.

What Kinds of Compensation are Included in Overtime Pay in California?

Overtime pay must include all compensation the employee regular receives as pay. The regular rate must meet the requirements for both federal and California minimum wage laws. The following is a list of common items included:

  • Regular wages, such as an hourly wage;
  • Non-discretionary bonuses that are measured or awarded based on hours worked;
  • Commission payments; and/or
  • Piecework payments.

Are there any Exceptions to the Overtime Pay Requirements in California?

Yes, California law allows for several exemptions to the overtime requirements. Exemptions exist for certain types of employers as well as certain types of workers. Employees who work overtime without the authorization of their employer, must still be paid overtime pay as long as the employer should have known about the hours.

However, if the employee conceals the overtime work in an attempt to deceive the employer and get paid the additional pay, the employee will not be entitled to the pay after all.

Are Salaried Employees Eligible for Overtime Pay in California?

Yes, some salaried employees are eligible for overtime. Non-exempt salary workers are eligible. The government provides criteria that must be met to grant exempt status. Thus, many salaried workers are not eligible.

Can my Employer Require Me to Work Overtime?

Yes, an employer can require an employee to work overtime, granted they comply with the overtime pay laws. If an employee refuses to work the overtime hours, the employer may be able to terminate the employee.

When Do I Need a Lawyer for Overtime Pay in California?

If you think you are entitled to overtime pay and did not receive it or your employer wrongfully categorized you as exempt, a California employment lawyer can help determine if you do qualify and take steps to get your pay. Employees may file wage claims to get their overtime pay and an attorney can assist you with the process or represent you at the hearing.