Overtime wages provide extra compensation to people who work long hours. Overtime pay is mandatory in California.
Employers who do not pay overtime wages can be assessed penalties, interest and legal fees. Unpaid overtime is a major problem costing workers billions in lost wages. A 2011 study found that wage earning families can lose 37 to 49 percent of their income to wage theft.
The Ottinger Firm can help you recover unpaid overtime pay. We have been handling wage claims for over a decade and have recovered millions in unpaid wages.
Overtime Pay Rates
How to Calculate Overtime Pay
The overtime pay rate is 1.5 times the regular rate. Your regular rate includes all compensation such as wages, bonuses, commissions, awards, shift differentials etc. See this article on how to determine a person’s regular rate. For example, if an employee’s regular pay rate is $20.00 per hour, the overtime pay rate would be $30 per hour (1.5 x 20 = 30). Employees who work more than 12 hours in a day are entitled to double time.
Not every California employee is entitled to overtime pay. If you are paid by the hour, then you are entitled to overtime pay. It gets more complicated for salaried employees. Some salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay, and some are not. People who fall into an “exempt” category are not entitled to overtime pay.
Here is a list of common overtime exemptions:
- The White Collar Exemption – This exemption covers managers and professionals and people who have a role in running organizations. Here is how it’s broken down:
- Administrative Exemption – this covers people who assist in the management or operation of a business. In order to fall into this exemption, a person must exercise discretion and independent judgment with regard to important matters.
- Executive Exemption – this covers people who primarily manage a business or division of a business. To be covered, a person must supervise two or more full-time employees and have a role in hiring and firing employees.
- Professional Exemption – this exemption covers people who perform work that requires specialized knowledge or education such as doctors, dentists, engineers, architects or lawyers.
- Independent Contractors
- Computer workers who are involved in the creation or design of systems, applications or networks and are paid more than $27.63 per hour.
- Seasonal employees
- Outside Salespeople
- Babysitters and other care providers
- Criminal investigators
Off the Clock Work
Off the clock work happens when an employee is not paid for their work. Here are a few common examples of off the clock work:
- Not paying employees while they open and close a company store
- Unpaid prep work at a restaurant
- Being clocked out to wait for work
- Clean up after the end of a shift
- Off the clock violations can result in unpaid overtime and minimum wage violations.
How to Recover Unpaid Overtime Wages
Class actions are often brought to recover wages for groups of people who have the same type of case. Overtime pay violations are often caused by company wide illegal pay practices. Employees who start overtime class actions are sometimes rewarded with an extra payment for bringing the case. For small cases, it’s often best to file a claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). Click here for information on how to file a wage claim.