Labor Law Office, APC

California overtime laws: What you need to know

Nearly every worker older than 18 is entitled to overtime pay in California. State law mandates that employees cannot work more than eight hours per day, or 40 hours per week, without being paid overtime wages.

What is the amount of overtime in California? Under state law, overtime is one-half times a worker’s regular rate of pay for all hours beyond eight hours, and including 12 hours in any workday. It is also payable for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work.

Overtime, under law, is more if the workday is even longer. Employees are entitled to double time, or double their regular rate of pay if they work longer than 12 hours in a given workday and for all hours worked beyond eight hours on the seventh day of work.

Hourly and most salaried employees are entitled to overtime in California. There are some exceptions, including people who work for a parent or adult child, people who work for a service organization like AmeriCorps, outside salespeople and truck drivers, among others.

The sad truth is, many employers do not follow the law. Some deliberately cheat their employees and steal their wages and do it because they know their employee needs his or her job to survive. Because of that, many employees are reluctant to come forward and assert their rights for fear of being fired.

Don’t give up. If you’ve worked more hours than your regular workday but your employer is refusing to pay you overtime, you can take steps in attempt to collect your deserved wages. You can file a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, also known as the labor commissioner’s office. But another option – one that might bring you faster, stronger results – is to sue.

In many cases, an employment attorney can not only obtain rightful overtime pay, but also recover penalties for violations of wage rights. Damages can include back pay, interest and an award of attorney’s fees and costs. Because many employers hide the fact that they are not paying lawful wages, many employees are owed money and don’t know it.

If you feel that your employer is denying you rightful overtime pay, it’s important to speak to an experienced California employment attorney as soon as possible.