California state law often expands federal overtime laws. Workers in more situations qualify for overtime in California than in many other jurisdictions as a result, and the law even allows for higher overtime amounts in certain circumstances. For example, non-exempt California workers who put in more than 40 hours per week, or more than 8 hours a workday, or who work seven consecutive days during the same workweek, will be entitled to receive overtime premiums at the corresponding hourly rate. Despite California’s robust protections for workers, many businesses still fail to follow California overtime rules by not paying their workers the overtime that they deserve.
Such workplace rights violations can occur in any industry in California, but there are certain types of workers who are at a greater risk of suffering such violations than others. The three groups of employees below may need to monitor their work arrangements and paychecks more carefully than others for warning signs of overtime wage violations as a result.
Most employees usually fall into one of these two specific categories. They either receive hourly wages or a salary. Many salaried workers are exempt from overtime pay requirements, but many hourly workers are not. Daily workers might not be aware of their rights, but a recent court ruling has clarified that they generally have the same right to overtime pay as hourly workers because their income varies depending on how much they work.
Hourly service workers
Many California businesses pay hourly workers as little as they can both in terms of the hourly wage they offer and how many hours they pay those workers for. They may try to manipulate workers’ payroll records by rounding down how long they have been at work so that they do not qualify for overtime. The company might also have training that teaches workers to do their jobs off the clock despite clear California rules establishing that employers must pay for all of a worker’s time spent on routine job responsibilities.
Some businesses try to avoid their legal responsibilities to employees by calling them independent contractors. They avoid making payroll tax contributions and eliminate workers’ compensation expenses. They can also refuse to pay an independent contractor overtime because technically they set their own wages and their own hours. Oftentimes, companies treat workers like employees while calling them independent contractors. California refers to that practice as misclassification and can penalize companies that try to manipulate employment arrangements for the company’s financial benefit.
Those who know that they are at higher risk of overtime violations may have an easier time standing up for themselves. Pursuing a wage claim might be the most effective means of obtaining unpaid overtime for a worker who has put in their time but not received the pay that they have rightfully earned.