California Overtime Laws 2024 – What Every Worker Should Know

One of the most common forms of wage theft occurs when employers don’t pay out the overtime that their employees have earned. Some employers get away with not doing so for years, in part because their employees don’t actually know when they are entitled to overtime pay. It can be a good idea to make yourself aware of the overtime laws in California.

When You Are Due Overtime

Overtime in California is triggered in 3 different ways; length of shift, hours in a workweek, and consecutive days working.

A full work shift in California is considered to be eight hours, so any time working extended beyond the eight hours should be paid out as overtime. Hours 8-12 of a shift should be paid out at 1.5x regular wages. Anything extending beyond 12 hours will be paid out at twice the regular rate. Therefore, if you worked a 14-hour shift, that would be eight hours of regular pay, four hours of 1.5x regular pay, and two hours of 2x regular pay.

A full-time work week in California is 40 hours. Anything over 40 hours should be paid out at 1.5x regular wages. It’s important to note that it is more than 40 hours in a workweek and not more than 40 hours in a seven-day period. So if your employer’s workweek begins on a Monday and ends on a Sunday, it is possible that by working eight-hour days Wednesday through Sunday of one week and then an eight-hour day on Monday, you could be working 48 hours within six days, but they would not count towards one week.

If you were to continue working into a seventh day, that pay would be overtime paid at 1.5 times your normal wage. That is because, for any days worked past six consecutive days in California, those hours should be paid as overtime. If you were to work on a Monday of one week and work all the way through the Monday of the following week, then the Sunday and second Monday should be paid at overtime rates.

California Overtime Laws

When You Are Exempt From Overtime

There are a few situations where employees may not earn overtime pay. The most common circumstance regards an employee’s classification: if an employee is either an independent contractor or exempt. In the case of the independent contractor, they typically agree to a flat rate that is negotiated based on what the independent contractor produces. The contractor then has more autonomy regarding how and when they produce what they have agreed to, so long as they meet their deadline.

Those who are classified as exempt are still employees but also have a degree of autonomy in their position. Part of the criteria for being exempt is that you have a position that relies on you to make decisions using your own judgment. The kind of work done is also a factor and should largely be work that is intellectual, creative, or managerial in nature. The final rule is that the employee should make a salary that pays more than twice what a full-time minimum wage position would pay.

Because these classifications allow employers to avoid overtime pay, there are times when employers misclassify their employees. As an employee, you will want to make sure you are classified correctly. If you suspect that it’s possible you have been misclassified, you’ll want to speak with a San Diego, CA, Unpaid Overtime Lawyer.

What to Do if You Haven’t Been Paid Your Overtime

If you have reason to suspect that you haven’t been paid overtime that you’ve earned, then you need to follow two important steps: collect records and get help. Documents like your schedule, actual hours worked, and pay stubs will be important for building a case to recover the pay that you’ve earned. Talking with an employment lawyer can help you determine the next steps for your case. There are a few paths that can be taken to seek restitution, and a lawyer can help you determine what is appropriate for your case.


Q: When Can I Earn Overtime in California?

A: Overtime in California should be paid at one and one-half times an employee’s regular pay for:

  • Hours 8-12 of a shift (twice regular pay for anything beyond 12 hours)
  • Hours beyond 40 in a week
  • All hours worked on any consecutive day past six day

Q: How Many Hours Between Shifts is Legal in California in 2024?

A: There is no required number of hours between shifts in California. So even if you are working a closing shift one night, followed by an opening shift the next morning, this does not mean that your employer is in violation of any overtime law.

Q: What Makes an Employee Exempt From Overtime in California?

A: In California, an employee is exempt from overtime law if:

  • They are an independent contractor
  • They are paid a salary more than twice the minimum wage for a full-time position
  • Their job consists of “white collar” work, such as creative, professional, or managerial work
  • They regularly use their own discretion and judgment in their position

Q: Is Anything Over 40 Hours A Week Overtime in California?

A: Yes, anything over 40 hours in a week is overtime and should be paid out at time and a half. The 40 hours are based on the employer’s workweek scheduling. An employee may work over 40 hours in a seven-day span and not receive overtime if the seven days crossed over two workweeks.

Get Help to Recover the Overtime You Earned

When you work overtime, you are earning extra pay above and beyond the normal rate. If you aren’t receiving that pay, you have every reason to desire to seek it out. If you think you haven’t been receiving the overtime pay you earned, contact us today. We can help investigate your situation and discuss options for how you might be able to get back what you’ve earned.