Overtime Laws in California

Overtime Laws in California

As an employee, your skills are valuable, and your time is valuable.

If you’re working extra hours in a day or week, you could be entitled to overtime pay in California.

Sadly, not every employer obeys overtime laws, and some violations go undetected.

You can help make sure you’re being properly paid for your time by understanding California state law on overtime. 

Overtime Requirements in California

How many hours did you work on each day of the workweek?

(Exclude time spent on upaid meal breaks.)


* Results may not be accurate for salaried non-exempt employees, employees on an alternative work schedule, minors, or employees subject to other unusual situations.
† Include only your hours actually worked. Do not include holiday pay, vacation pay, or any other paid time off.
‡ Before taxes and deductions.
More than 8 hours in a day - Time and a Half
† More than 40 non-overtime hours in a workweek - Time and a Half
† Hours worked on the 7th consecutive day in a workweek - Time and a Half
† More than 12 hours in a workday - Double Time
‡ More than 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day in a workweek - Double Time‡
† Time and a half means one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay.
‡ Double time means twice the employee’s regular rate of pay.

When Does Overtime Apply?

When determining your right to overtime pay, you must understand when the clock starts running on your overtime work.

Under federal law, you generally have a right to overtime pay for any time you’ve worked past 40 hours in a seven-day workweek. When it comes to overtime laws, California is a little more generous.

You could be entitled to overtime in California if any of the three following circumstances apply:

  • You work more than 40 hours in a seven-day workweek;
  • You work more than eight hours in a 24-hour workday; or 
  • You work more than six consecutive days in a seven-day workweek.

In general, your employer needs to pay you a higher rate of pay for any overtime you work. And your overtime pay rate depends on the amount of overtime you work. 

What Is the Overtime Pay Rate?

There are two tiers of overtime pay in California. Workers receive 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for their overtime work if they work the following amount of overtime:

  • More than eight hours, and up to 12 hours in a workday; or
  • Up to eight hours on their seventh consecutive workday.

In general, workers receive 1.5 times their pay rate if they work more than 40 hours in a week unless they work so much overtime that they have a right to double pay.

Workers normally receive two times their regular pay rate for overtime work if they work the following amount of overtime:

  • More than 12 hours in a workday; or 
  • More than eight hours on their seventh consecutive workday.

There are many ways to calculate your regular rate of pay before determining your overtime pay rate. Sometimes bonuses can be part of your regular pay rate, and many salaried employees have the right to receive overtime pay.

A skilled wage and hour attorney can determine the maximum amount of pay to which you are entitled in an overtime dispute. 

Overtime Exceptions

While the overtime rules outlined above apply to a large portion of the California workforce, there are exceptions to the rules.

Some salaried employees with “white collar” job tasks who earn a certain level of income are exempt from California overtime pay rules.

There are other employees who have a right to overtime pay, but the rate of overtime pay they receive and the hours they must work to receive it are different.

Employees who are subject to different overtime pay rules include:

  • Employees with properly-adopted alternative workweeks;
  • Certain healthcare workers;
  • Employees of certain recreational facilities;
  • Certain agricultural workers; and
  • Certain live-in employees.

If you suspect that a right to receive overtime pay doesn’t apply to you or applies to you differently, speak to an attorney before you settle for less in a dispute.

There are many details that determine whether you’re subject to different overtime rules, and an attorney can fight for the maximum amount of benefits you can receive. 

What to Do If There Is an Overtime Violation

If you see that your employer hasn’t properly paid you overtime, your employer could be guilty of wage theft. Your first step is to speak directly with your employer about fixing the problem.

If your employer refuses to fix an overtime issue, you can file a complaint with the California Department of Industrial Relations. You have three years to file a complaint.  

Speak to an Attorney to Recover the Value of Your Time

Don’t be afraid to demand what you are owed. Resolving a wage theft dispute with your employer can be scary, but an experienced attorney can fight that battle for you.

At Starpoint Employment Lawyers, we have the experience, skill, and compassion to resolve employment disputes in your favor. We give you one-on-one attention so we can solve your unique issues in the way you need.

You don’t have to let your employer undercut you. Contact us online or give us a call at 310-441-8036 for a free consultation. 

Author Photo

Aidin Ghavimi

Aidin is a partner at Starpoint LC, Attorneys at Law, and focuses on personal injury and employment law cases in and around Southern California. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Loyola School of Law and his Bachelor’s from USC. Aidin’s primary goal is to bring justice to his clients and to ensure they are able to move on with their lives after a serious injury.

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