An important California law to know is that California requires daily and weekly overtime pay. (This post will not cover federal overtime law. Also, as I will briefly explain later, the labor code explained here also does not cover exempt employees).
In general, for non-exempt employees in California, overtime pay is under Labor Code § 510. As it is written at the time of this post, you need to watch for any work after 8 hours in a day (not just over 40 hours in a week).
Under Labor Code § 510, “8 hours of labor constitutes a day’s work.”
What happens past 8 hours…
o Any work
§ > 8 hours in one workday
§ and any work > 40 hours in any one workweek
§ and the first 8 hours worked on the 7th day of work in any one workweek
o shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for an employee.
A source of confusion is whether someone who works 10 hours a day for 4 days or less (totaling 40 hours or less) still needs to get paid for overtime for those days they worked over 8 hours. YES! In California, the “daily” overtime is mandatory, separate from the “weekly” overtime. So in this example, overtime should apply on those days on the 9th and 10th hour (and so on). The caveat is when an alternative workweek was adopted (see Labor Code § 511 and § 514, but be aware there are very stringent requirement before an employer can adopt and alternative workweek). Also, be aware of 7th consecutive day worked (the 7th day does not have to be “Sunday”, if your workweek was say, a Wednesday-Tuesday schedule).
Also, California Labor law allows for “double time”.
What happens past 12 hours?
o Any work >12 hours in one day
o Any work > eight hours on any 7th day of a workweek
o shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay for an employee.
Again, also be aware of the 7th consecutive day worked in a week.
Some definitions in the Labor Code…
“Workday” and “day” mean any consecutive 24-hour period commencing at the same time each calendar day. Labor Code § 500(a).
“Workweek” and “week” mean any 7 consecutive days. Labor Code § 500(b).
“Workweek” is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours, 7 consecutive 24-hour periods. Labor Code § 500(b).
“Alternative workweek schedule” means any regularly scheduled workweek requiring an employee to work more than eight hours in a 24-hour period. Labor Code § 500(c).
Do I get overtime pay if I am exempt?
Like I mentioned above, this applies to non-exempt employees. But the first question should be whether an employee is actually exempt before moving on to the overtime analysis. The test for exemption is very complicated, and will be beyond the subject of this post (please talk to an employment law attorney regarding exempt status).
In general, some exemptions in California include:
Under Industrial Welfare Commission Labor Code § 515(a): “Executive” employees, “Administrative” employees, and “Professional” employees, if the employee: “is primarily engaged in the duties that meet the test of the exemption, customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment in performing those duties, and earns a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment. Also see the Wage Orders for specific definitions of “Executive”, “administrative” and “professional” employees.
Also, subject to very specific requirements under the labor code (including pay rates), these employees may be exempt: computer software employees (Labor Code 515.5), physicians or surgeons (Labor Code 515.6), teachers at a private elementary or secondary academic institution (k-12) (Labor Code § 515.8(a)). Also, there may be other exemptions under the law.