When it comes to labor laws, California is one of the most employee-friendly states. That certainly applies for employees qualifying for overtime. In California, any nonexempt employee over age 18 qualifies for overtime after working more than eight hours in one day and working more than 40 hours a week.

Overtime pay calculations

For employees who qualify for overtime, employers pay overtime hours at one and a half times a worker’s regular hourly rate. If employees receive a higher wage because of shift differentials or other incentives, they receive the higher rate as their base pay when calculating overtime. Employees who work more than 12 hours in a day or seven days in a row are eligible for double-time pay.

For salaried employees, employers must calculate their overtime pay by

  1. Dividing a worker’s yearly salary by 52 weeks
  2. Then dividing a worker’s weekly salary by five days
  3. Then dividing a worker’s daily salary by eight hours
  4. Then multiplying a worker’s hourly rate by the number of overtime hours worked

For employees who work on commission, employers can calculate overtime in one of these two ways:

  1. Use the employee’s commission rate as the base pay rate and pay the employee one and a half times that during overtime hours.
  2. Divide an employee’s total workweek earnings by the total hours worked in a week. Then pay the employee one and a half times that hourly rate for overtime hours.

Unpaid overtime

It’s not uncommon for employers to miscalculate overtime pay for employees. If you work on commission or receive pay incentives, you should always double check that your employer calculated your overtime pay rate correctly. Often, employers underpay employees for overtime.

If you have issues with having your employer compensate your correctly for any overtime that you work, you should consult an experienced employment law attorney. An attorney can help you file a wage violation suit so you get the overtime compensation you’ve earned under California law.