California’s changing wage laws

Residents in California should learn about overtime pay to know when they may need to seek help to receive what is due to them.

All California residents should have a good understanding of the state's wage laws including the payment of overtime. This may be especially important for people who are paid on an hourly rate although the California Department of Industrial Relations does indicate that some people who are paid a salary may still be eligible for overtime in some situations.

Do California's wage laws change?

Keeping up on wage laws is important as they do evolve over time. As CBS Los Angeles explains, the state just enacted a new law this year that made changes to the amount of money to be paid as the minimum wage . Already employees at companies with more than 25 employees have received a raise in their minimum wage of 50 cents per hour to $10.50. In 2018, employees at companies with fewer than 25 employees will get the same bump in minimum wage pay.

When can I earn overtime?

Under state law, anyone who is not exempt and who works more than eight hours in a given day may be eligible for overtime pay. This pay should be calculated at one-and-a-half times a regular hourly wage for any single-day hours past the first eight up to 12 hours. If more than 12 hours in a day are worked, overtime should be double the normal wage.

If a person works seven days in a row, overtime at one-and-a-half times a regular hourly wage should be paid for the first eight hours of work on that day. Any work on the seventh day beyond eight hours should be paid at double time.

Overtime is only paid based upon hours actually worked. Therefore, if a person has vacation or sick time as part of a pay period, those hours will not be used for the purpose of calculating overtime.

Do I have to work overtime?

An employee can be required by a company to work overtime. Employers are even allowed to fire or otherwise discipline workers who will not put in overtime. On the other side, an employee does not need to have overtime authorized prior to working the extra time or days.

What happens if my employer does not pay overtime?

Employers are required to provide overtime pay in the pay period following when the overtime was worked. Those employers who fail to pay overtime as required by law may pay fines up to $25,000.

Employees who are due overtime that they have not received may file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or even pursue private legal action with an attorney in California. Even if a wage claim is made, talking to a lawyer is recommended so that the employee can learn more about the laws in the case.