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Do I qualify for overtime pay in California?

When you talk to someone about how work is going, chances are that either you or the other person will allude to feeling overworked. Many Americans have too much work and spend too many hours on the job. In fact, according to this report, Americans work longer hours than people in at least 20 other countries do.

If you are someone who spends more than 40 hours a week at work or work more than 8 hours a day, then you need to know about overtime laws in California. After all, if you are working overtime, you want to be sure you are properly compensated. Below are the criteria for being eligible to receive overtime pay in this state.

According to California overtime laws, workers qualify for time-and-a-half pay if they:

  • Work more than 40 hours a week 
  • Work more than eight hours a day during any work day
  • Are 18 or older (or 16-17 in certain cases)
  • Are an employee
  • Are a nonexempt employee

Of course, there are many exceptions and special considerations that could be made, depending on an individual's circumstances.

For instance, workers in industries like the healthcare industry can work longer than 40 hours in a week or without daily overtime limits without qualifying for overtime pay in certain instances. Compensation can also be more than time-and-a-half in some cases, and alternative workweek schedules can require alternative means of computing overtime.

Determining eligibility for overtime can be complicated, particularly if an employer is purposefully trying to avoid paying you in accordance with state wage laws. You might be misclassified as an exempt employee, misled about how your hours are calculated or told that putting in a few extra hours here and there is just part of the job and others don't usually request overtime pay.

If you have questions about whether you qualify for overtime, it can be helpful to speak with an attorney. If you discover that your employer has not been fully compensating you for overtime work, your attorney can also help you file a legal claim to collect the wages you have earned. 

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