When you work long, hard hours, maybe doing construction, warehouse or landscaping work, you expect to get paid fairly. In California, you face high living expenses, so you want to get the wages you deserve. What you may not realize is that California has different rules for paying overtime than other states. You may be entitled to overtime pay and not realize it.
California overtime regulations
In most states, workers get paid overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a seven-day period. Overtime pay is 1 1/2 times an employee’s regular rate of pay. In California, nonexempt employees earn overtime if:
- They work more than eight hours in one day.
- They work more than 40 hours in a seven-day time period.
Employees also can earn double their rate of pay if they work more than 12 hours in one workday or if they work more than eight hours of overtime on a seventh consecutive day of work.
Managers can require employees to work overtime. Yet, employers can’t require employees to work without clocking their hours or work during an unpaid lunch break. Also, your employer must pay you for overtime you work even if you didn’t receive permission to work those extra hours.
However, in some industries or job positions, workers may be exempt from receiving overtime, including:
- State, city and county employees
- Executive, administrative or professional positions
- Sales employees who work on commission
- Some types of professional drivers
- Employees who work in a family business
Workers who are part of a union and have a collective bargaining agreement may have different rules for receiving overtime. So do many employees who have alternative work week schedules (such as working four 10-hour days).
Getting help to receive overtime pay
If you believe you are eligible for overtime pay, but your employer didn’t pay it, you should consult an employment law attorney. An attorney can help you file a lawsuit to claim your overtime pay and discover if your employer didn’t classify your position properly to avoid paying you overtime.
Sometimes, you have to fight for your rights as an employee. California is a state that gives workers a lot of legal opportunities to push for fair treatment and wages, especially when employees work overtime hours.