In California, if you work for an hourly wage, you are entitled to overtime pay when you work more than eight hours in a single workday. Unfortunately, many employers fail to meet their legal obligation to pay workers their full overtime wages. Some companies go to great lengths, including the use of confusing time entry systems, to mislead employees and avoid paying them all the wages they are owed. Employers may even actively lie to their employees by telling them that they are not entitled to overtime pay.
For employees in California, following is a summary of how overtime works and how you can find out whether you are entitled to overtime pay.
Overtime: The basics in California
The vast majority of hourly workers in California are owed 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for every hour worked above eight in a single workday. The rate of overtime pay increases to double the regular rate for all hours worked above 12 in single workday.
Additionally, on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek, employers are required to pay employees 1.5 times the regular rate for the first eight hours of work. The rate of pay then increases to double the regular rate for every hour worked above eight on the seventh consecutive day of work.
Whether you are entitled to overtime pay may depend on how you are classified (as exempt or non-exempt)
If you are a manager or otherwise are paid a salary rather than hourly wages, you may not be owed overtime pay when your work hours exceed eight in a single workday. However, even if you are paid a salary, you may be owed overtime pay if your total income is below a certain threshold. If you have questions about whether you get paid enough to be exempt from overtime pay, talk to an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, many employers misclassify their employees as “exempt” or managerial in order to avoid paying overtime wages. Our overview of employee misclassification has more on that.
Often the problem is not isolated to one employee
In many cases, failure to pay wages is not an isolated issue, and multiple employees may be affected. When that is the case, a class action or other collective action may be necessary to hold the employer accountable and get employees the wages they are owed. Our overview of class action employment lawsuits has more on these matters.
Also, see our previous post, “How are employees cheated out of overtime wages?”
Our employment law firm represents employees throughout California.