When Does My Employer Have to Pay Overtime?

Posted on October 12, 2011 | 3 comments

When Does My Employer Have to Pay Overtime?

I  work over 8 hours a day and sometimes more than 40 hours a week. Do I deserve overtime?

The short answer is yes, you deserve overtime, but only  if you are a non-exempt employee. Under California labor law, everyone who works beyond normal hours deserves overtime pay. However, there are certain categories of employees who are not entitled to overtime. Specifically, California and Federal labor laws provide a number of exemptions that allow employers to bypass  the overtime regulations. These exemptions  can be divided in three main categories: executive, administrative, and professional employees. In addition, there are exemptions for outside salespersons and employees in the computer software field.

Therefore, the term “non-exempt” simply means that an employee does not fall in any of the “exempt” categories and is entitled to overtime. For ease of understanding and convenience, just remember the following shortcuts:

     “non-exempt”= overtime                          “exempt” = no overtime

For purposes of wage and hour law, every California employee is generally classified as either “non-exempt” or “exempt.” It is crucial to keep in mind that California labor law exemptions are  narrowly defined and oftentimes hard to satisfy. Because paying overtime is expensive, many employers deliberately misclassify their  “non-exempt” employees as “exempt,” which costs workers thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime. To learn more about exempt misclassification, read this article.

California Overtime Rules.

Unless you fall within one of the above-mentioned categories, you are entitled to overtime. Once you figure out that you are a non-exempt employee, you need to know what does it mean to work beyond normal or regular work hours; or in other words, under what circumstances your boss must pay your overtime.

The following is a list of factual examples that helps you to determine when and how much of overtime you are entitled to:

California Time and a Half Overtime:

If you work more than 8 hours in any workday, your employer must pay you one and one-half times of your regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 8 hours until the 12th hour.

If you work more than 40 hours in any workweek, your employer must pay you one and one-half times of your regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours.

California Double Time Overtime:

If you work more than 12  hours in any workday, your employer must pay you double time of your regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 12  hours.

If you work 7 days in a row, on the seventh day,  your employer must pay you one and one half times of your regular rate of pay for the first 8 hours, and double  time for all hours work thereafter.

Legal Assistance and Free Case Evaluation

Given the complexity of these overtime rules, you can see that calculating overtime is not always intuitive and can be confusing at times. If you would like to learn more about how to calculate overtime, please click here. Most importantly, if you believe that your employer does not pay you overtime, it is best that you consult an employment law lawyer. You can contact one of our attorneys for a complementary case evaluation.

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  1. My employeer says I am not entitled to over time because I didn’t punch in/out and that I worked outside of the store. Therefore it is considered straight time. i don’t agree, is this the law. If so I will accept it.

  2. My husband employer pays the employee after working 86 hours it’s over time in two weeks
    I don’t think this is right

  3. My wife works at a restaurant as a hostess. Sometimes she works 5-6 hours a day with only one 10 minute break. Shouldn’t she had two ten minute breaks or a lunch?

    Another time she worked at 11am-4pm & 5pm-9:30pmnduring the same day, total hours of the day is 9.5 hours, I told her she should have received 1.5 hours of over time. Right?

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