California Overtime laws are some of the most restrictive in the nation. Of all 50 states, the most protective of employees are the overtime laws in California. Over the past several years, the courts in California have interpreted many California laws about overtime in favor of the employees. Employers are not only cautioned to stay abreast of these governing court cases, but take an inventory of how they have paid their employees in the past and how they pay them currently in accordance with CA overtime laws.
Here are some key points to remember in regard to the State of California Overtime Rules:
- California overtime law provides that an employee be provided California overtime pay when working in excess of 40 hours per week OR in excess of 8 hours per day.
- California labor law exempt employees among other things must be performing exempt duties in excess of 50% of the time. This means employers must carefully examine whether or not exempt employees are truly exempt by the actual duties they perform (versus their job title or the mere fact they are salaried and labeled exempt).
- California law overtime pay requirements are extremely strict and may result in payment of up to 4 years of back overtime pay, interest, penalties, and the attorney fees of the employee. California overtime rules typically favor the employee. This means, for example, California labor laws for exempt employees require employers to prove such employees are exempt.
- California labor laws shift work hours are governed by the alternative work week rules if employers seek to work employees more than 8 hours per day without overtime pay. Alternative work week schedules of, for example, four “10 hour days” must be approved by a vote of the employees and such vote must be recorded at the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement.
- California labor laws on-call duties are complicated when it comes to compensable overtime and are typically based on how restricted the employee is while on call. If, for example, an employee must always be near a land line to log onto a server, it may be construed that such employee is entitled to California overtime pay for the entire time of the restriction. California law overtime pay requirements typically favor employees and on call time is no different.
Consecutive work days and calculating overtime consecutive days going forward is a complex topic that revolves around the definition of the start of the work week. The definition is contained in California labor code 500 where "Workweek" and "week" mean any seven consecutive days, starting with the same calendar day each week. "Workweek" is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours, seven consecutive, 24-hour periods.
When it comes to understanding common labor terms such as California overtime exempt hourly, and California state law exempt overtime, it is important to understand the definition of these terms first. Typically, exempt means “not entitled” to overtime in the context of California labor law. “Overtime” in California means any hours worked in excess of 8 in one day or 40 in one week. Under California labor laws, exempt employees are NOT entitled to California overtime pay or compulsory meal and break periods. California labor laws for exempt employees require that the employer prove that an employee is exempt if such is called into question.
California labor code 1194 provides special protection for employees. The overtime pay requirements contained in this section of the California labor code emphasize labor code overtime pay requirements for employers. In addition, minimum wage pay requirements, attorney fees and court costs must be paid by the employer if there is a violation of this section of the California labor code.
California laws concerning overtime have evolved over time and are complicated. From topics such as unpaid overtime to California double time laws that relate to overtime pay, there is no shortage of case citations and opinions to review. This is why the services of a California labor law attorney or California overtime lawyer are more important than ever. California overtime laws while meant to protect the employee can change with one major case and exempt employee labor laws are one of the areas of California overtime law that is most complicated. Actual duties performed and how much each duty is performed is the common debate between employee and employer. When California overtime pay requirements come into play, evidence and witnesses are the keys to a successful case.