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How Do You Calculate California Overtime Pay?

  • Published: May 15, 2022

Nearly all California workers have the right to receive all wages for hours worked and overtime pay on time. When employers violate those rights, employers have the right to file a wage claim lawsuit. If an employer violates your wage rights, contact a California employment law lawyer who can help protect your rights.

How to Calculate Overtime Pay in California

Unfortunately, not all employers adhere to the laws they’re supposed to and may not pay them the total amount of their overtime pay or may even refuse to pay them overtime pay. Employees need to know how to calculate their own overtime hours to protect themselves and hold their employers accountable. Here are five steps to help you calculate your overtime hours.

1. Establish Workdays

Employees need to start calculating overtime at the start time of the workday because non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 8 hours in the workday. In California, the workday is defined as a consecutive 24-hour period starting at the same time each calendar day. Different workdays may sometimes establish different classifications for employees. When employers don’t establish a workday starting time, the workday is automatically considered to last from 12:01 a.m. to midnight.

Daily overtime pay is due based on the hours worked in the given workday. However, averaging hours over two or more workdays is not allowed. After an employer establishes a workday, it must remain consistent and unchanged unless there’s a legitimate business reason for the change.

2. Establish Workweeks

Since non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours during a workweek, employers must establish the day the workweek begins to help calculate overtime pay accurately. In California, a workweek consists of seven consecutive days, beginning with the same calendar day each week and can begin at any hour on any day, as long as it is fixed and a regular occurrence.

Employers may sometimes establish different workweeks for different employees, but after establishing a workweek for the employee, it must remain fixed regardless of their working schedule. An employee’s workweek may change if the change is intended to be permanent and is not designed to evade paying the employee the overtime they are legally owed.

3. Count the Number of Hours You Worked Each Workday and Workweek

Under California law, employees are required to track the start and stop times for their shift, their meal break, and the end of their shift. You can keep track of your own records or ask your employer for a copy of those records to count the hours worked during the workday and workweek.

4. Determine How Much Daily Overtime Pay You Are Owed

In California, non-exempt employees must be paid daily overtime according to the following regulations.

  • One and one-half times the employee’s regular pay rate for over 8 hours of work, including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first 8 hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of the workweek.
  • Double the employee’s regular pay rate for over 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked over 8 on the seventh consecutive workday of the workweek.

Once you’ve calculated your daily overtime pay, you can move on to your workweek overtime pay.

5. Determine How Much Workweek Overtime Pay You Are Owed

Under California overtime law, overtime pay is required for any hours worked over 40 in the workweek at a pay rate of one and one-half times the regular pay rate. If you worked 40 hours or less, you have zero overtime hours that week. However, if you worked more than 40 hours, then you are due overtime pay.

California Overtime Pay Lawyers at KCNS Law Group

At KCNS Law Group, we work tirelessly to protect the rights of workers across California. We understand that despite the laws in place to protect workers, employers and their insurance companies don’t always have workers’ best interests in mind. We are here to help you understand your rights and fight for you to be treated fairly and obtain the legal benefits and pay allotted to you by California employment laws. You can schedule an appointment with us at (818) 937-9255 or by filling out our contact form.

KCNS Law Group LLP

Our client-based approach is concentrated on our commitment to providing individual and strategic representation tailored to our client’s specific needs.

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