A 50-hour work week or a 12-hour day can be exhausting. The bonus to these exhausting hours is the golden promise of overtime pay. Overtime pay is the higher rate California workers are required to be paid after working more than eight hours in a workday, more than 40 hours in a week, or on the seventh consecutive day.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act and California Labor Code §510 protect the right of workers to receive overtime pay. Sadly, many California employers dismiss their employee’s right to overtime pay. Employers find creative ways to deceive their employees that they do not qualify or are entitled to overtime pay for their extra hours of work. Despite the extensive employment protection laws present in California, these violations are very prevalent. California has one of the highest rates of overtime violation along with the highest rates of improper compensation for overtime.
If you believe that you have not been fairly compensated for overtime in California, we can help. Fighting for employee rights is all we do, and we have recovered millions of dollars for California workers.
The federal law requires that workers who qualify for overtime pay are paid 1.5 times their regular rate for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours in one week. With limited exceptions, California law requires an employer to:
Employers have attempted to create alternative work schedules, such as four 10-hour days per week, avoiding having to pay overtime for the additional two hours per day. However, California has set laws with specific conditions which include employee approval through measures such as collective bargaining or through a secret ballot.
Under specific circumstances, some employees are not entitled to overtime pay or may have different exemptions. Some examples of employees who may not be legally entitled to overtime pay under California law include:
Agricultural workers are subject to different regulations.
With the increasing use of automated modern payroll systems, overtime pay is typically included on their regular paycheck including their normal wage during the pay period. However, California law allows employers to pay overtime wages before or on the payday for the next regular pay period.
Overtime pay rules are explicit and generally easy for employers to navigate when it is applicable. However, employers continue to maneuver their way around paying their employees for overtime pay. When employers are unaware of their rights or are simply afraid to speak up to their employer, employers easily get away with cheating their workers of overtime pay.
It is important to understand your rights and inform yourself of common misconceptions so you lawfully receive your overtime pay when it is due.
Some of the many ways that we see employers illegally avoiding overtime pay include:
Misclassifying the employee as an independent contractor
Independent contractors are not entitled to overtime pay and the many employee protections associated with being a W-2 employee. Both California law and the Internal Revenue Service have put in place detailed requirements for the qualifications of being an independent contractor. Employees who have been misclassified
Misclassifying the employee as exempt
Many employers attempt to cheat the law by classifying their employees under a supervisory title or providing them a salary. By doing so, they believe they are exempt from paying their employee overtime pay. However, the categories of exemption are explicit and salaried and supervisory employees are still entitled to overtime pay despite their position.
Excluding time worked off the clock
Many employers attempt to avoid overtime pay by not compensating their employees for required on-site time. This includes changing into gear, traveling within the work day, and other activities that your employer is legally required to pay you for.
Not paying overtime to commission-only or piece-work employees
Employees who are paid on a commission-only or piece-work basis are not exempt from overtime pay, and employers are still required to comply with wage and hour laws for these employees.
Not counting rest periods towards hours worked
Legally mandated paid rest breaks on the premises of the workplace are required to be included in the hours worked for overtime compensation purposes.
Creating a work environment that pressures employees
A common way in which employers deter from paying for overtime is by declaring no overtime pay. Employers will typically do this when they know that a task will take longer than eight hours, leaving the employee conflicted with complaining to their employee or leaving the job undone. Typically, out of fear of getting fired, employees will not record the hours they worked overtime and continue to finish their task.
Altering time cards
Unfortunately, many employers will cheat their employees of overtime pay by altering the number of hours their employee worked to avoid paying them compensation and straight pay for those extra hours.
Unpaid training and work meetings
For every hour you work you must be compensated, and this includes work meetings and training. Employers will attempt to treat work meetings and training as non-work related, cheating employees of the hours worked that time and the potential overtime that may have resulted from the additional time spent.
Intentional miscalculation of regular rate of pay
Overtime pay is 1.5 or 2 times the employee’s regular rate of pay. This calculation is straightforward when working an unchanged wage. However, if you are an employee that works at different wages for different tasks such as pay-per-piece, employers may attempt to reduce the amount owed through intentional miscalculation.
Covetous employers profit off of the fear of possible unemployment or misinformation of their employees. For this reason, it is important to be informed of the extensive worker protections offered under California law. If you believe your employer is miscalculating your hours or overtime compensation, your first steps should be to:
Although frustrating, it is essential that you remain composed and professional throughout the entire process. Otherwise, any inappropriate behavior can be used against you and may give your employer a legitimate reason to terminate your employment.
SW Employment Law has claimed millions of dollars in awards and compensation for the mistreated workers of California, including a range of class action lawsuits and individual cases. We Understand the frustration and difficulty of dealing with unfair treatment within the workplace, and we want to make sure you receive compensation as seamlessly as possible. We offer free, confidential consultations and work on a contingency basis, so expenses are one less thing to worry about. Talk to us at 949-936-4001 or fill out the contact form below.