Know The Law

Know the Law. Know your Rights.

Under California labor law, overtime wages must be paid when an eligible employee works overtime. Make sure your rights are protected when you work overtime. Here are some FAQs about overtime wages:

When am I entitled to overtime wages?

According to California labor law, a work day consists of eight hours of labor, and a workweek consists of no more than 40 hours a week. Any additional hours beyond eight hours per day or 40 hours per week are considered “overtime” and employees are entitled to overtime wages. Under the law, overtime wage must be at least one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. Moreover, any employee who works more than 12 hours in one day shall be entitled to overtime pay of no less than two times the regular rate of pay. There are additional overtime requirements for employees who work more than eight hours on their seventh consecutive workday,

Not every employee is entitled to overtime pay however. There are some narrow exemptions based on salary and job description, and in cases where a flexible work schedule is agreed upon. Also, some hours such as travel time, is not considered part of the workday.

How is overtime pay calculated?

Overtime pay is based on the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay. If the employee earns a salary, then the hourly rate is calculated by dividing the annual salary by 52 weeks, and the weekly pay is further divided by 40 hours. If an employee receives different rates of pay, then overtime is calculated by a weighted average of the rate.

What happens if I don’t get overtime pay?

An employer who fails to pay the lawful overtime wage to an eligible employee has broken the law. In that case, an employee has the right to sue under California law. According to California labor code section 1194, the employee may be able to recover the unpaid balance plus interest, as well as attorney’s fees and costs.

California labor law also requires overtime pay to be included in the next schedule paycheck. This is required by law regardless of any administrative delays such as having a supervisor approve the overtime.

Can I decline overtime pay?

Under California labor law, an employee cannot decline overtime pay if they are eligible. In other words, an employee cannot tell an employer that they will work overtime at the regular hourly rate. The reason for this is because California labor laws are designed to protect employees and are among the most strict and specific in the country. Allowing employees to waive their state rights to overtime pay is not good public policy and may be harmful to employees overall.

Also, employees cannot hide the fact that they are starting “overtime” hours from employers. This means that an employee cannot prevent employers from knowing they are about to accrue overtime hours, and therefore allow the employer the opportunity to prevent the employee from working overtime hours.


Srourian Law Firm, with locations in Los Angeles, Westwood, Woodland Hills, and Orange County is experienced in all aspects of employment law including overtime wages and have aggressively represented employees in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Orange, Irvine, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Tustin, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Garden Grove, Laguna Niguel, Brea, Fountain Valley, Aliso Viejo, Yorba Linda, Westminster, Laguna Hills, Cypress, and La Habra.

If you or someone you know suffered employment violations as an employee such as not receiving overtime pay in California, you may have certain employee rights under state and federal law and may be entitled to unpaid wages, interest, attorneys’ fees and costs, and/or be entitled to compensation as a part of the class action lawsuit. Please contact us to speak with one of our experienced lawyers for a free consultation.