Have You Been Working 7 Days in a Row in California? 4 Things You Should Know
The standard work week is Monday to Friday, working five days with eight-hour shifts. Yet many of us find ourselves working jobs that demand more time throughout the week.
Perhaps some employees want to work these long schedules. After all, a recent survey from Qualtrics found that 57% of people want to work overtime.
But many people do not want to work over 40 hours per week. And if they do, they at least want to be paid overtime.
If this sounds like you, did you know that your boss may be required to pay you overtime if you are working seven days in a row? If you are working every day of the week, here are four important things you should know.
1. California Has “Day of Rest” Laws
The California Labor Code protects the rights of employees and ensures they receive fair compensation for their work.
It establishes rules for overtime pay, which encourages employers to maintain reasonable work hours, prevents employee exploitation, and promotes a healthy work-life balance.
Without this law, employers could structure work schedules that fall outside federal overtime requirements but still demand much of the employee’s time. This is especially true when you factor in the time it takes to get ready and commute to work.
2. You May Qualify for Overtime Pay
Many people think overtime begins only after someone works over 40 hours in a week. However, California also extends overtime to people working seven days in a row.
Employers must pay at least one-and-a-half times an employee’s standard rate for:
- Any time over eight hours in a single day;
- Any time over 40 hours in a week; or
- The first eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of the workweek.
People often call this pay rate “time and a half.” It begins after the overtime begins.
Imagine you earn $20 per hour. Once overtime begins, you will earn $20 x 1.5, which equals $30 per hour.
In some cases, your employer may need to pay double your normal rate. Often called “double time.” You may be entitled to double time if you work:
- Over 12 hours in a day; or
- Over eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of the workweek.
Keep in mind that California’s overtime laws consider the time spent commuting to work if you commute with a vehicle that is owned, leased, or subsidized by your employer and is used for ridesharing. An example of this would be a company bus that picks up employees to transport them to and from work.
Also, those who work an alternative workweek schedule do not qualify. California law defines an alternative workweek schedule as “any regularly scheduled workweek requiring an employee to work more than eight hours in a 24-hour period.” For example, working four days for 10 hours each day is a common alternative workweek schedule.
3. “Workweek” Has a Specific Definition
The California law on working seven days in a row provides overtime only if all work is done in one “workweek.”
In Mendoza v. Nordstrom, the California Supreme Court held that a “workweek” is not any seven-day period. Rather, it is a seven-day period set by the employer that constitutes the workweek.
This may sound the same as a regular seven-day week, but they are quite different.
A seven-day period might stretch from Thursday to Wednesday. Or it could be the traditional Sunday to Saturday schedule that many traditional businesses use. While these are both weeks, they are not always a workweek.
A workweek is a schedule that the employer uses to track hours and wages. For example, a bank’s workweek might be Sunday to Saturday because it follows a standard work schedule.
Meanwhile, a bar’s workweek might be Thursday to Wednesday because the bar is busy on weekends and closed during weekdays. These are both seven-day periods, but the businesses set when the workweek starts and ends.
Let’s look at an example of how these differ when it comes to overtime.
Your employer operates on a Monday to Sunday workweek. You work for eight hours each day from Wednesday to the following Tuesday. In this example, you likely do not qualify for overtime because your work spanned two workweeks.
For week one, you worked each day from Wednesday to Sunday. For week two, you worked Monday and Tuesday. Although you worked for seven days, you never worked for seven days in one workweek.
However, if you worked from Monday to Sunday under the same schedule, then you would have worked every day of the workweek. In that case, you would qualify for overtime pay for any hours you worked on the seventh day.
4. Only Non-Exempt Employees Qualify for Overtime
California’s overtime rules do not apply to exempt employees. Some types of workers who are exempt from overtime include:
- Outside salespersons,
- Taxicab drivers, and
- Professional actors.
Fortunately, many employees in California are non-exempt. An employee is non-exempt by default, so the definition includes most typical jobs such as barista or clerical worker.
It’s important to note that your job title does not determine if you are exempt or non-exempt. There are several factors about the job that one must consider. You may be non-exempt even if your employer classifies your position as exempt.
The California Chamber of Commerce offers resources to help determine if you are exempt or non-exempt.
Consult a Business Attorney If You Have Worked Seven Days in a Row
As you now see, California’s overtime laws can be difficult to understand. But you can’t let confusing statutes discourage you from obtaining your hard-earned overtime pay.
Starpoint Law is here to help. Our attorneys will review your case to see if you qualify for overtime. If so, we can start by sending demand letters to your employer to give notice of all legal violations.
If your employer still refuses to pay for your overtime after receiving these letters, we can file a lawsuit and fight for you in court to recover your damages.
Don’t let your employer keep your overtime pay. Our firm has helped California workers collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in wage and hour disputes. Schedule a consultation to see if you are entitled to compensation.