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Many people work long hours at their jobs. Whether you are finishing a project or your company is in the middle of its busy season, there are often reasons why people work longer than the traditional eight-hour workday. However, some people are receiving 1.5 times their usual pay rate for overtime hours, while you only receive your regular salary. It is natural to wonder whether you should also be receiving overtime pay.

Overtime Laws in California

Both federal and California laws require overtime pay for certain employees. First, you are entitled to overtime if you earn less than the threshold set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department of Labor (DOL) recently updated this threshold for the first time in 15 years, and as of January 1, 2020, you deserve overtime pay if you earn less than $684 per week, which is $35,568 per year for a full-time employee.

Many people who earn more than the threshold are also entitled to overtime. You should receive overtime rates unless you fit into an exception, which means you are an exempt employee. Exemptions require the following:

  • Earning a salary that does not change with your hours worked
  • Having a job that fits into one of the following categories:
    • Executives
    • Professionals
    • Management
    • Administrative employees
    • Independent contractors
    • Outside sales
    • Programmers, analysts, and other computer specialists

There are some additional exceptions for seasonal employees, babysitters, and other specialized jobs. Many employers will give someone a title as a “manager” or “administrative” employee when, in reality, their job duties do not reflect this title. It is important to know that exemptions are based on your job responsibilities, not merely on your job title.

Calculating Hours

If you do not qualify for an exemption as described above, California provides the right to overtime rates for the following:

  • Hours worked over 40 in one week
  • Hours worked over eight in one day
  • The first eight hours of the seventh consecutive day worked in one week

Not every state provides daily overtime, but California does. This means that if you worked ten hours in one day, you would be entitled to two hours of overtime, even if you did not exceed 40 hours for that week.

It is important that you are paid for all the hours you worked. For instance, imagine you show up 15 minutes early to set up, so you are ready to start work at 8:00 am, and you stay 15 minutes after your shift is over at 4:30 to clean up. Your employer might only pay you for eight hours (assuming you have a 30-minute lunch break), but you should be paid for time spent setting up and cleaning up, as well. This means that you should count 8.5 hours per day, which is 2.5 hours of overtime per week.

Contact a California Employment Law Attorney Right Away

If you believe you deserve overtime pay, speak with a California employment lawyer at Mara Law Firm. Call us at 619-762-2949 or contact us online to learn how we can protect your rights.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

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