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California Overtime Laws: What You Should Know

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Protect your rights as a worker in California by learning the state’s wage and hour laws. California’s overtime laws are constantly changing. Employers too often shortchange employees on overtime wages, either out of ignorance of the law or an intentional attempt to save money. If you understand the law and your rights, you can put a stop to overtime violations early. If you do not discover a violation until later, hire a lawyer to help you file a claim to obtain the overtime wages owed.

What Is Overtime?

The definition of overtime in California is working over what is normal for a worker’s scheduled hours. Under state and federal law, overtime refers to working more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per workweek. You might have worked overtime if you performed work-related tasks outside of and in addition to your normal working hours on any given day or week. Most employees who work overtime will qualify for special overtime pay. The amount earned will depend on the number of hours worked in a day and/or workweek.

How Much Overtime Pay Does Your Boss Owe You?

A few different laws pertain to overtime pay in California. The first is section 510 of the Labor Code. This statute defines a day’s work as eight hours of labor. It also lists the rules for how employers must compensate employees for working overtime. The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal overtime law. It has the same definitions for overtime, as well as protections for employees who work overtime. Under California’s laws, your employer has to pay you either time-and-a-half or double your usual wage, depending on how long you work.

  • 5x your pay after 8 hours worked in a day.
  • 5x your pay after 40 hours worked in a week.
  • 5x your pay for the first 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day in a workweek.
  • 2x your pay after 12 hours worked in a day.
  • 2x your pay after the first 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day in a workweek.

For example, if you typically make $16 per hour and worked 10 hours in one shift, you would receive $16 per hour for the first 8 hours and $24 per hour for the last 2 hours. Another state law, Labor Code section 204, makes it mandatory for all employers to release overtime pay to employees at least twice each calendar month, on regular paydays. An employer cannot withhold your overtime pay for a date later than your usual payday. Employers have to follow both state and federal overtime laws. When these laws differ, the employer has to use the rule that benefits the worker the most.

You Have the Right to Request Overtime Back Pay

If after calculating your hours worked and comparing it to your paycheck, you believe your employer is withholding overtime pay, file a complaint with the company’s Human Resources department. It could be an administration error or something your employer will remedy internally. If the company refutes or ignores your claim, report a labor law violation to the California Department of Industrial Relations. You could also file a federal complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. These organizations can review your case and may be able to force your employer to pay you the overtime wages owed.

Contact a San Bernardino workers’ compensation attorney to help you with an overtime wage claim. You may have grounds to bring a civil lawsuit against your employer in pursuit of fair compensation. If your employer broke the state or federal overtime law and wrongfully withheld your pay, you could receive compensation for back pay, attorney’s fees and other damages, on top of state and federal civil penalties. Learn more about California’s overtime laws and your specific claim during a conversation with a lawyer today.

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