Employee Wage Rights


How to Calculate Overtime

Posted by Eric Kingsley | Jun 06, 2023 | 0 Comments

California overtime laws require that all hourly or nonexempt employees receive overtime pay at the rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for hours they work in excess of 8 per day or 40 per week. California's overtime laws apply to all nonexempt employees, most of whom are paid on an hourly basis.

However, the state's overtime law also includes nonexempt employees who are paid on a piece rate, daily rate or salary basis. There are exemptions to California's overtime law. This means that there are some categories of employees who are not covered under overtime laws. This article details some of the steps to calculate overtime laws in California.

If you believe that you are owed unpaid overtime wages, contact our Los Angeles overtime Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.  Simply fill out our contact form to get started.

Determine Your Workdays and Workweeks

It is important for California employers to set the start and end times of workdays so workers can be paid accurately for regular as well as overtime hours. California law defines a workday as any consecutive 24-hour period starting at the same time each calendar day. The workdays may vary depending on the nature of the job. Daily overtime is based on the hours worked on any given workday.

Employers must also establish what constitutes a workweek since employees are entitled to overtime if they work over 40 hours in a workweek. California law defines a workweek as any seven consecutive days starting with the same calendar day each week. Again, different workweeks may be established for different workers.

Counting the Number of Hours Worked

California law requires employees to track the start and stop times for the beginning and end of the shift as well as meal and rest break times, and when they stop and start. Employers will count the hours worked each workday and workweek based on these time records.

Calculating the Amount of Daily and Weekly Overtime Owed

Under California law, nonexempt employees must be paid one and a half times the employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 8 hours. When an employee works over 12 hours in a workday, he or she is entitled to receive double the regular rate of pay.

The weekly overtime law requires employers to pay overtime for any hours worked over 40 in the workweek at the rate of 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. Count all hours worked for the entire week. If the employee worked more than 40 hours in the workweek, weekly overtime hours are calculated as total hours minus 40. For example if you worked a total of 45 hours in a week, you should get five hours of weekly overtime pay.

Determining the Regular Rate of Pay

Under California law, an employee's overtime pay is based on his or her regular rate of pay. The regular rate of pay is the average hourly rate of pay that is calculated by dividing the total pay for employment (with certain statutory exclusions) in any workweek by the total number of hours the employee has worked. For example, if an employee is paid $20 per hour, their overtime pay would be $30 at 1.5 times and $40 at double time. Therefore, an employee's regular rate of pay has a significant role to play when it comes to calculating overtime pay.

Calculating Overtime for Piece-Rate Employees

If you get paid by the piece or commission, you piece or commission rate is used as the regular rate and you should be paid 1.5 times this rate for production during the first 4 overtime hours in a workday and double time for all hours worked over 12 in one workday.

Another way to calculate overtime for this category of employees would be to divide the employee's total earnings for the workweek by the total hours worked during the workweek. For each overtime hour worked, the employee is entitled to an additional one-half the regular rate for hours requiring time and a half, and an additional full rate for hours that require double time pay.

Calculating Overtime for Salaried Employees

The payment of a fixed salary to nonexempt employees provides compensation only for that employee's regular hours. All the same daily and weekly overtime rules apply to employees who are classified as salaried and nonexempt. While calculating the overtime rate for a full-time salaried, nonexempt employee, it must be noted that the worker's regular hourly rate equals 1/40th of the employee's regular weekly salary.

In such cases, the employee's monthly salary should be multiplied by 12 to get a figure for the annual salary. Then that number should be divided by 52 (the number of weeks in a year) to obtain the weekly salary. Then, divide the weekly salary by the number of regular work hours to obtain the regular hourly rate of pay.

How an Unpaid Wages Attorney Can Help

If your employer owes you overtime, California law gives you the right to file an unpaid wages claim or an unpaid wages lawsuit in civil court to collect the wages you are owed, interest, attorney's fees and other related costs. The experienced Los Angeles overtime lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers can help you calculate the overtime pay you are owed and fight to recover your unpaid wages. We will make sure that all the paperwork is filed and the deadlines are met so you are placed in the best possible position to recover all the wages you are owed and hold your employer accountable for violating labor laws. Call us at (818) 408-6708 to find out how we can help you.

About the Author

Eric Kingsley

Eric B. Kingsley is a 2023 "Best In Law" Award winner and has litigated over 150 class actions. He is also an AV peer rated attorney and a prolific speaker at various seminars on employment law.


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