California Overtime Law

In California, overtime compensation is governed by the California Labor Code and the Wage Orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission. Since January 1, 2000, employees have been entitled to "daily overtime" at time and one-half when they work in excess of eight (8) hours in a day or "weekly overtime" at time and one-half when they work in excess of forty (40) hours in a week.

In addition, employees are entitled to double time for hours worked in excess of twelve (12) hours per day and hours worked in excess of eight (8) hours per day on the 7th consecutive day worked. California employees are also entitled to penalties equal to a day's wages for up to 30 days following termination if employers fail to pay them in full, including at the time of termination.

To be exempt, employees must be salaried and fall under one of the overtime exemptions. Employers must pay salaried exempt employees their full salary for any week where the employee was ready, able, and willing to work, and during which the employee performed any work without regard to the number of days or hours worked.

Federal Overtime Law

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ("FLSA") governs minimum wages and overtime compensation. The FLSA requires employers to pay employees overtime compensation at the rate of one and half times their regular hourly wages for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. The FLSA provides that employees may sue to enforce the overtime provisions of the FLSA. Employees may seek to recover all unpaid overtime compensation plus an equal amount of liquidated damages, as well as attorneys' fees.

Employers have often attempted to evade the overtime compensation requirements by misclassifying employees as "exempt." One exemption covers employees whose job duties are primarily managerial or administrative. However, employees who are basically production workers - even if white collar, and even if well compensated - do not fall within these exemptions.

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