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When and to whom do overtime laws apply in California?

Many workers in California feel that they are at their employer's disposal. Oftentimes, this means that they feel obligated to take on extra work when requested, even if it means lengthening their day. These individuals may be afraid to turn down their employer out of fear of retaliation or termination, but others welcome the opportunity in hopes that they will receive overtime pay.

In California, individuals can only work up to eight hours per day, or 40 hours per week. Any work time over these limits should be compensated at one-and-a-half times the employee's hourly rate. Therefore, an individual who earns $10 per hour and works one hour of overtime should be compensated $15 for that extra hour of work. There are times when an individual must be paid twice his or her hourly wage, though, such as when he or she works more than 12 hours in a given day, or if he or she works more than eight hours on the seventh consecutive workday.

There are exceptions to the overtime pay rule. The largest is that those employees who are identified as being "exempt" from overtime laws will not be paid overtime. This group of individuals is made up of those who earn a yearly salary. Therefore, those who are paid $40,000 a year may be required to work 50 or 60 hours a week without any additional compensation.

Although California laws like these seek to protect workers from being taken advantage of by their employers, the truth of the matter is that far too many employers will do just about anything to save money, even if it means not paying their employees what their employees are lawfully due. Therefore, those who have not received the overtime pay they are entitled to may want to learn more about whether they are able to recover that compensation through a wage and hour claim.

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