Full-time employees in California are often scheduled for a standard 40-hour workweek. At times, workers in different industries may require fluctuating schedules, with hours surpassing their regular 8-hour shifts or past the 40-hour mark. It is essential for U.S. workers to understand their rights and when they are entitled to overtime pay. Though there are differences in voluntary and required overtime labor, every employee has a right to receive the pay and wages they are entitled to according to California labor laws.

Employers often try to evade their duty to compensate their workers for all hours worked. However, employees have the right to take legal action and recover their rightfully owed unpaid wages. At Blackstone Law, our skilled labor and employment lawyer seeks to provide continual support and legal resources in advocating for a client’s rights and compensation recovery.

How Does California Define Overtime Work?

Every employer is required to comply with labor laws in California when mandating required work hours for their employees. A standard workweek is generally defined as an 8-hour day and no more than 40 hours a week. If an employee works beyond forty hours, those excess hours are considered overtime. Additionally, specific industries have exceptions, and certain occupations may operate under different labor rules for alternate workweek schedules.

California statute 510 explains mandatory overtime compensation based on working hours as:

“…Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek and the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for an employee. Any work in excess of 12 hours in one day shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay for an employee. In addition, any work in excess of eight hours on any seventh day of a workweek shall be compensated at no less than twice the regular rate of pay of an employee…”

In California, not all employees are eligible for overtime pay. However, eligible workers can expect one and a half times the regular pay rate or double pay for the applicable hours. Full-time salaried employees are also entitled to overtime pay in some instances where their salary does not exceed twice the minimum wage requirement in a forty-hour workweek.

Understanding Differences in Voluntary and Mandatory Overtime

While there is a standard set for a typical work week, employers can require employees to work overtime. However, all work beyond seventy-two hours in a workweek should be voluntary, meaning there should not be any repercussions for any employee who refuses. Although it is beneficial to provide notice, employers are not required to notify their employees of schedule changes ahead of time. Whether overtime is mandatory or voluntary, employers must pay their employees the appropriate overtime wages.

Does My Boss Owe Me Compensation for Voluntary Overtime Hours in California?

If you are an employee, you may find yourself voluntarily working overtime to even out a workload, get ahead, or to meet responsibilities and expectations. Regardless of the cause for hours worked, eligible employee overtime hours are compensable. In some cases, overtime is not expected depending on your work and the industry for which you are employed. Understanding when you are owed overtime can help you enforce your labor and wage rights.

You may be owed overtime wages in California if you are:

  • An exempt employee working more than 8 hours in a workday
  • An exempt employee working more than 40 hours in a workweek
  • A non-exempt employee working more than 40 hours in a workweek
  • A non-exempt employee working more than six consecutive days in a workweek

Cases in which an employer may not be required to pay for overtime include:

  • An employee employed by the city, county, or state
  • An employee who works for a rideshare or taxi driving company
  • An employee who works in an exempt professional, administrative, or executive position
  • An employee who is in a union and covered by a collective bargaining agreement

You may be entitled to overtime compensation depending on your workday, culminating weekly hours, and other factors. If your employer owes you overtime wages and has miscalculated or failed to pay what you are entitled to, filing a dispute with the appropriate agency and consulting with an attorney may help you seek justice and receive your legally owed unpaid wages.

Call Blackstone Law to Retain Legal Services From Our Skilled Unpaid Overtime Attorney

When a California worker’s overtime wages and compensation are withheld by their employer, the employee can take legal action by filing a dispute and pursuing compensation. Every full-time employee has the right to be compensated for overtime, even if exceeding hours were not pre-approved, but the employer was aware of the hours worked.

If you have filed a dispute to recover unpaid wages and sought justice for your employer’s wrongdoing, retaining legal services from our attorney at Blackstone Law may be the help you need to get your case to the finish line. We work diligently to advocate for your rights and hold employers accountable for unlawful actions. To put your best foot forward and recover the wages you are entitled to receive, complete a contact form or call us at (310) 956-4054 to schedule a free case consultation.