How to Calculate Overtime Under California Labor Law?

Posted on February 5, 2013 | 8 comments

How to Calculate Overtime Under California Labor Law?

This post is written to provide employees and employers with an understanding on how to calculate overtime hours under California overtime laws. If you do not like math, you can refer to our easy-to-use online overtime calculator that will do to all computations for you.

Before you read this post, please familiarize yourself with California overtime rules. To recap, California Labor Code section 510 and applicable Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders require employers to pay:

    1)      One and one-half of employee’s regular hourly rate for:
  1. all hours worked in excess of 8 hours up to and including twelve (12) hours in any workday ;
  2. for the first eight (8) hours worked on the seventh (7th) consecutive day of work in any workweek;

2)      Double of employee’s regular hourly rate for:

  1. all hours worked in excess of 12 hours per workday;
  2. all hour worked in excess of eight (8) hours on the seventh (7th) consecutive day of work in a workweek.

In general, when an employee works only in excess of the weekly or the daily number of straight-time hours, the computation of overtime hours is straightforward.  Things get a little bit more complicated when an employee works more than 8 hours per workday and at the same time – more than 40 hours per workweek.

No “Pyramiding” of Daily and Weekly Overtime Hours

The Wage Orders provides that overtime hours should not be “pyramided” or “double-counted” under both daily overtime and weekly overtime provisions. In other words, once an hour is counted as an overtime hour under some form of overtime, it cannot be counted as an hour worked for the purpose of another form of overtime. When an employee works ten hours in Generic cialis online one day, the two daily overtime hours cannot also be counted as hours worked for the purpose of weekly overtime. See Monzon v. Schaefer Ambulance Service, Inc., 224 Cal. App. 3d 16 (1990).

Example 1: An employee works 12 hours on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. How many non-overtime and overtime hours did the employee work that week? Answer– The employee is credited with 4 hours of daily overtime each day worked, for a total of 16 daily overtime hours, and these daily overtime hours cannot be counted for the purpose of determining when to start paying time and a half for hours worked in excess of 40 in a week. Because pyramiding is not allowed, there are no weekly overtime hours, even though the employee worked 48 total hours during the workweek. Only 32 of these hours were regular, non-daily overtime hours, and they are the only hours that count towards weekly overtime computations.

The DLSE provides that the employer must pay its employees overtime compensation for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek or in excess of applicable daily maximum, whichever number of hours is greater. For example, if during a single workweek, the employee’s total number of hours in excess of 8 hours is 10 hours and at the same time the total number of hours in excess of 40 hours per workweek is 8, the employee is entitled to 10 hours of overtime.

To better understand how to calculate overtime consider the following examples. Each of the following examples assumes that the work week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday and the employee is a nonexempt hourly employee who is entitled to overtime under California overtime laws.

Example 2: Daily Overtime Hours Only
Assume that in one workweek an employee works only three days  of ten hours for each workday. The number of daily overtime hours is 6 (3x(10-8) = 6). The number of weekly overtime hours is 0, because the employee worked only 30 hours during the entire workweek. 6 hours of overtime must be compensated at time and one-half the employee’s regular rate.

Example 3: Weekly Overtime Hours Only
Assume that in one workweek an employee works six days of 8 hours for each workday. The employee’s total number of work hours per week is 48, which exceeds a 40 hour workweek by 8 hours. Therefore, the number of weekly overtime hours is 8. The number of daily overtime hours is 0, because the employee never worked more than 8 hours per workday. 8 hours of overtime must be compensated at time and one-half the employee’s regular rate.

Example 4:  Weekly Overtime Hours are Greater than Daily Overtime Hours
Assume that in one workweek an employ works six days of 11 hours for each work day. To determine how many hours of overtime the employee worked, we must calculate (1) weekly overtime, (2) daily overtime and (3) compare both numbers. Whatever the number is greater should be deemed as employee’s overtime hours. In this example, the employee’s total number of hours worked during the workweek is 66 (11 x 6) of which 26 hours are weekly overtime (66-40).  The employer’s daily overtime is 16 (6x(11-8)=18). Because the employee’s weekly overtime is greater than his daily overtime, the employer shall be compensated at time and one-half of his regular rate for 26 hours of overtime.

Example 5:  Daily Overtime Hours Are Greater that Weekly Overtime Hours
Assume that in one workweek an employee works four days of 11 hours for each work day. In this example, the employee’s total number of hours worked during the workweek is 44 (11 x 4) of which 4 hours are weekly overtime (44-40).  The employer’s daily overtime is 12 (4 x (11-8)=12). Because the employee’s daily overtime is greater than his weekly overtime, the employer shall be compensated at time and one-half of his regular rate for 12 hours of daily overtime.

Example 6: Double Time for Seventh Consecutive Workday and Hours Over Twelve
Assume that in one workweek an employee works seven consecutive days and has the following schedule:

Monday -11 hours;
Tuesday – 15 hours;
Wednesday – 14 hours;
Thursday – 9 hours;
Friday – 8 hours;
Saturday – 14 hours; and
Sunday – 10 hours;

In this example, in one workweek the employee worked a total of 81 hours. There are 41 hours of weekly overtime (81-40) and 25 daily overtime hours (11-8=3; 15-8=7; 14-8=6; 9-8=1; 8-8=0; 14-8=6; and 10-8=2; 3+7+6+1+0+6+2=25). As you can see there are more weekly hours than daily overtime. Therefore, the employee’s total overtime hours are 41. However, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, the employee worked more than twelve hours, which are subject to a double-time pay rate. Analogously, on his seventh consecutive day, the employee worked more than 8 hours, which are also should be paid at a double time rate. Therefore, 9 hours should be compensated at double time (15-12=3; 14-12=2; 14-12=2; and 10-8=2). The final calculations are as follows:

Regular Straight Time: 40 hours;
One and one-half Time: 32 hours; and
Double Time: 9 hours.

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If you believe that your employer does not comply with California overtime law, you need to consult an experienced employment law attorney. For a free consultation with a San Francisco employment law attorney, click here.
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8 Comments

  1. The one and one-half Time in example 6 is not 34 hours. It should be 32 hours.
    When using your calculator page (http://callaborlawblog.com/common-california-labor-code-violations/failure-to-pay-overtime/california-overtime-calculator/) and plugging in the hours in example 6, the total are:
    Total hours = 81
    Regular hours = 40
    1.5 OT = 32
    2 OT = 9

    • Thank you for bringing this typo to my attention.

  2. Thank you for all this. Very helpful.

  3. I have a question in relation to the 7th day rule…

    If you continue to work past the 7th consecutive work day through the entire next work week (M-Sun then M-Sat of the following week for a consecutive 13 days), does that mean that everything from 0-40 hours of the next work week is 1.5 overtime and anything over 40 hours is double time?

    The way it is explained all over the internet makes it seem like you get 1.5 – double time for the 7th consecutive day worked but then after that it goes back to regular pay or resets.

    Any further explanation of the case above would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • In California, with the exception of some industries (e.g. healthcare), all overtime hours are calculated on a daily and weekly basis. Therefore, once a new workweeks starts, all calculations start from 0. Meaning there is no such a thing as 8th or 9th consecutive day. So your last paragraph is correct, upon completion of the 7-day workweek, overtime calculations are “reset.”

  4. I have a question about overtime. If you are working more than 40 hours in a week and on some days you work more than 8 hours in the day, is more overtime due?. This is of course after a worker has worked more than 40 hours in the work week already. Is said person supposed to get paid double time or does normal overtime pay continue.
    Example
    Friday 10 hours
    Saturday 10 hours
    Sunday 10 hours
    Monday 10 hours
    Tuesday 8 hours
    Wednesday 8 hours
    Thursday 8 hours

    • This is where it gets complicated and a lot of employees and employers have a misunderstanding as to how calculate overtime for the weeks where both daily and weekly overtime hours are worked. California overtime law explicitly provides that overtime pay should not be duplicated or “pyramided” under the daily and weekly overtime provisions. To avoid pyramiding or duplication of overtime pay for the same hours of work, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and the Wage and Hour Division provide that the employee must be paid overtime for all hours in the workweek in excess of the applicable daily maximum or in excess of the applicable weekly maximum, whichever the number of hours is greater. Basically, there is no “pyramiding” of separate forms of overtime pay for the same hours worked. Once an hour worked is paid at the applicable daily overtime rate, that same hour cannot be used in the computation of forty hours for the purposes of weekly overtime pay.

      If you want to learn more about this topic and look at specific examples, consider reading my recent post here

  5. Question. My employees set their own schedule. I have no part in it. Am I responsible to pay them overtime if they choose to work more than 8 hours in a day? Thank you so much for your help.

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