California Overtime Laws

Posted by Sessions & Kimball |

Working overtime, taking care of your family, and finding time to socialize is difficult in this fast-paced modern world that we live in. This balance is even more challenging and frustrating if your employee is withholding pay by not paying you overtime when you’re entitled to it. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to speak with an unpaid overtime lawyer to ensure that you get everything that you are entitled to. To know if your employer isn’t following the law, it’s a good idea to learn some of the California overtime laws.

Overtime Rate

In California, employers are required to pay overtime to non-exempt employees at a rate of 1.5x their regular rate of pay. If you earn $20 per hour, your overtime rate would be $30. You qualify for overtime once you’ve worked more than 8 hours in one workday, more than 40 hours in one work week, or more than 6 days in a row in one work week. For example, for the first 40 hours in the workweek, you will earn your typical hourly rate, and for all of the hours after that, you will earn your overtime rate. 

Additionally, California employers are required to pay 2x an employee’s regular rate of pay when they work more than 12 hours in a workday or more than 8 hours on the seventh day that the employee has worked in a row.  

Who Qualifies for Overtime?

To earn an overtime rate, you must be a non-exempt employee, as exempt employees will not receive overtime pay. The following are examples of exempt employees:

  • White collar workers who have administrative, professional, or executive duties at work that require them to make judgment calls and use their discretion when making decisions; and
  • They receive a fixed salary as opposed to an hourly rate.

The employee must also earn at least $58,240 per year (as of 2021) to be considered exempt if they are working for an employer who has 25 employees or less. If working for an employer who has more than 25 employees, the employee must earn $62,400 per year (as of 2021) to be considered exempt. 

Other Exempt Employees

The following is a non-exhaustive list of other employees who are typically exempt from earning overtime: 

  • Independent contractors
  • Outside salespersons 
  • Agricultural workers
  • Camp counselors
  • Some live-in nannies and household workers

What if My Employer Refuses to Pay Overtime?

If you are entitled to overtime pay and your employer isn’t compensating you appropriately, there are steps you can take to try to collect the money you deserve. If you think it was a mistake and your employer isn’t withholding your pay on purpose, you can try to speak with them and work it out. If you believe they are doing it on purpose and speaking with them won’t resolve anything, you can consider filing a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. You can do this on your own, but it’s advisable to have an attorney assist you to make sure you file everything on time and properly. Finally, it’s also possible in many cases to file a civil lawsuit against your employer to try and collect what is rightfully yours.

If you are entitled to overtime pay, how much salary you receive is dependent upon your particular circumstance. If you’re unsure whether you should be receiving overtime pay or you think your employer is breaking any other wage laws, contact us today for help.