California Labor Laws on Split Shift & Overtime

By Leslie McClintock

Employers in the state of California are governed by a robust set of wage and hour regulations, both at the federal level -- enforced by the Department of Labor -- and at the state level -- enforced by the Department of Industrial Relations. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 imposed a basic set of wage and hour requirements for rank and file workers. However, California law goes further by increasing the minimum wage beyond that required by federal law and specifically addressing split shifts.

Who is Entitled to Overtime

Overtime rules apply to all non-exempt employees age 18 or older in California. Overtime laws in California aren't restricted to hourly employees. Salaried employees in California may be entitled to overtime pay in certain circumstances, provided that their jobs are not specifically listed as exempt under California statutes. These rules are broader than federal laws, which generally exempt salaried or commissioned employees across the board unless they can be shown to be improperly classified as exempt employees.

Overtime Pay

California laws require employers to pay overtime, defined as 150 percent of regular pay, for all hours worked over 40 in a single work week. This provision is similar to the federal requirement under the FLSA. However, California also requires employers to pay overtime pay for all hours worked over eight hours in a single day, up to 12 hours per day. The 150 percent of regular pay rate also applies to all hours the employee works on the seventh consecutive day of work, up to eight hours. For work over 12 hours on any one day or for anything over eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work, California requires the employer to pay the employee 200 percent of that employee's regular pay.

Alterative Schedules

California allows employers to work out an alternative schedule with employees based upon a four-day work week of 10 working hours per day. However, the employer still winds up with up to 40 hours per week payable at the employee's standard rate. Overtime rates apply for hours worked beyond the employee's regular schedule.

Split Shift Laws

A split shift is a work shift interrupted by an unpaid period of work. Special laws apply to protect workers earning at or near the minimum wage. If the worker is earning the California minimum wage and works a split shift, the employer may be obligated to pay that worker for an extra hour. This is to compensate the worker for working beyond what an eight-hour schedule would normally require.

About the Author

Leslie McClintock has been writing professionally since 2001. She has been published in "Wealth and Retirement Planner," "Senior Market Advisor," "The Annuity Selling Guide," and many other outlets. A licensed life and health insurance agent, McClintock holds a B.A. from the University of Southern California.

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