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Law Offices of Michael Tracy
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California Overtime Law

FAQ- Can my employer force me to work mandatory overtime?

In most cases, yes. There are few restrictions on requiring people to work overtime. The most common limit on the amount of hours you can be required to work is for people who work under Wage Orders #4 (Professional, Technical, Clerical, Mechanical and Similar Occupations), #8 (Handling Products After Harvest), #13 (Agricultural Products for Market, on the Farm), and #16 (On-Site Construction, Drilling, Logging and Mining). If you do work in one of theses field, you can not be disciplined for refusing to work more than 72 hours in a week. If you are not sure whether you work under these wage orders, a copy of it is required to be posted at your place of work in an area frequented by employees.

Other restrictions on mandatory overtime include work in a government program such as Americorps and certain other rare exceptions. For just about everyone else, your employer can require that you work overtime hours and fire you if you don't. Of course, you must be paid properly for all overtime hours worked.

FAQ- Can my employer force me to work overtime even if it was unscheduled?

Yes. Your employer is allowed to require that you work overtime with or without notice. The only requirement is that you be paid for it.

FAQ - Can my employer call be back into work after I have worked 8 hours in a day?

Yes. Your employer can require that you come back to work. However, each time that you report to work, you are entitled to be paid for at least 2 hours of work at your regular rate of pay.

FAQ - My employer called me back into work after I had already worked 8 hours. I worked 1 hour and my employer paid me one hour of overtime and one hour of straight time. I thought I was supposed to get two hours pay. Wouldn't the two hours be overtime since I was already past 8 hours in the day?

No. The overtime laws are independent from reporting time laws. Overtime laws only require that you be paid for the actual hours that you work. Reporting time laws require that you be paid only at straight time.

The following is the regulation for reporting time pay that clearly states that it is at the "regular rate of pay:"

(A) Each workday an employee is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to work or is furnished less than half said employee’s usual or scheduled day’s work, the employee shall be paid for half the usual or scheduled day’s work, but in no event for less than two (2) hours nor more than four (4) hours, at the employee’s regular rate of pay, which shall not be less than the minimum wage.

(B) If an employee is required to report for work a second time in any one workday and is furnished less than two (2) hours of work on
the second reporting, said employee shall be paid for two (2) hours at the employee’s regular rate of pay, which shall not be less than the
minimum wage.

FAQ - I heard that I am entitled to one day off every week, is this true?

Yes, and no. Although Calfornia Labor Code Section 551 clearly states that "Every person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day's rest therefrom in seven," courts have interpreted this to mean that "on average" you must be given one day off every week -- with the average being taken over a 4 week period. As such, no company can require that you work more than 24 days in 4 payroll weeks.

In addition, there is no automatic penalty if the employer does require you to work more than 24 consecutive days. That is, YOU DO NOT automatically get overtime, double time, or any other type of additional pay. The law simply means that the employer cannot terminate you if you refuse to work the consecutive days. Generally, you can sue the company for this violation if you refuse to work more than 24 consecutive days and the company fires you, reduces your pay, or otherwise dsicplines you in some material way. Simply having your boss give you "dirty looks" for not working would likely be insufficient to raise a claim.

 

 

©2013 Michael Tracy

This website only provides general information about the overtime laws in California and is not meant to be legal advice and does not serve to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any statements, on this page or elsewhere, are not guarantees of any outcome. Michael Tracy is a licensed attorney only in California.