The labor laws in California are very generous toward employees, offering a surprising amount of protection to workers. However – simply being aware that California has the best interests of its employees in mind is not enough. It is important that everyone in the workforce understands the laws that protect their rights, which will enable them to recognize situations in which their employer may be taking advantage of them. Consider this question – how well do you know the labor laws that ensure your right to overtime pay?

The basics of California’s overtime pay laws

While there are many nuances to overtime laws, there are a few standard things that every employee should know.

Who is eligible for overtime pay?                                                                        

Employees who are 18 years old or older whose position at work is classified as nonexempt. Minors who are 16 or 17 years old with no legal requirement to attend school and no prohibitive legal reason to prevent them from the subject of the work are also eligible.

When does overtime pay start accruing? 

Simply put, a workday in California is 8 hours of labor. A workweek is 40 hours of labor.  Eligible employees should be paid overtime wages for any hours they work over those daily and weekly limits, separately. This means that employees who meet the qualifications for overtime are entitled to not only any hours they work over the 40 hour workweek but also for any hours they work over the 8 hour workday.

How much is the overtime rate of pay?

This will be determined using your regular rate of pay.

 Your overtime rate should be one and one-half times your regular rate. The overtime rate should apply to each hour you worked over the standard 8 hour workday, up to and including 12 hours in that day. Your overtime rate will also apply to the first 8 hours of a 7th consecutive workday of a workweek.

Your overtime rate should increase to double what your regular pay rate is for any hours that you work over 12 hours in one workday and all hours that you work beyond the first 8 hours of a seventh consecutive workday in a single workweek.

Be aware of employer tactics to evade paying overtime

The higher rate of pay applied to overtime hours can add up to a significant payout for employers. While this is good for the employees, it also, unfortunately, leads some employers to attempt to find ways around the laws that require them to pay overtime wages. This is against the law. Some examples that your employer may be attempting to evade overtime pay include:

●      Deliberately misclassifying an employee’s title to reflect a position that is ineligible for overtime pay.

●      Assigning employees to complete work-related tasks outside of the standard eight hour workday, such as continuing to work from home after their workday is over.

●      Asking employees who are classified as exempt from overtime to complete tasks that would otherwise be the duty of a nonexempt employee.

●      Claiming that any employee who earns a salary is not eligible for overtime pay.

By taking the time to familiarize yourself with the labor laws that are in place for your benefit as an employee in California, you will be better equipped to protect your rights regarding the overtime wages you are legally entitled to receive. If you believe that your employer may not be complying with the labor laws and would like to discuss your employment with an attorney, we invite you to contact our offices today. We are ready to help you identify your possible options.