California Overtime Laws under Labor Code 510

Available Remedies for Overtime in California

California Labor Code 510 governs wages and hours of all non-exempt employees who work in California. California has an excellent reputation for work-friendly environments, and the law dictates when an employee should be paid wages for overtime.

California law requires employers to pay all the eligible employees working in California an additional payment for the work done in surplus of the standard eight or the standard forty hours. All non-exempt employees qualified for overtime are paid 1.5 times the constant rate of all the hours worked in surplus of 8 hours in a workday, over 40 hours in a workweek or for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day worked in any workweek. This is usually referred to as being paid ‘time and a half’.

Overtime rate of twice the employee’s constant rate of pay, usually known as double time, applies to the hours worked in surplus of 12 hours in a workday, or excess of 8 hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek.  

Employers should follow both federal and California overtime rules. In circumstances where California and federal overtime rules differ, an employee has to follow the rule which provides the most benefit to an employee.

Employees who work in California have to meet some qualifications to be eligible for the overtime rates. They should be older than 18 years, or more than 16 years if legally permitted to leave school for work. Employees must also be working in a non-executive role and must be in a non-professional position. Additionally, employees must not fall under any other exemptions.

California overtime law requires employers to calculate overtime pay based on the regular pay rate and not the hourly wage. The regular pay rate includes the hourly pay and other kinds of compensation like product bonuses, commissions, piecework earnings, and the value of meals and lodging.

The amount of overtime usually depends on the number of days an employee has worked in the workweek as well as the length of their shift. For instance, when an employee’s regular pay rate is $10 per hour, then the standard overtime pay should be $15 per hour in the overtime period. If the employee reaches the qualification for double overtime, then the payment should be $20 per hour.

For an employee receiving two different rates in a workweek and entitled for overtime, the California overtime law requires the employer to take the average of the two rates as the regular rate and pay 1.5 times of it.

California law requires employees who are underpaid to resolve the dispute informally with their employer, file a lawsuit in court, or bring a claim for the unpaid wages and penalties with a government agency. 

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