Question: May an employer require employees to work overtime under federal law and/or California law?
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not prohibit an employer from requiring employees to work mandatory overtime. However, an employer who requires a nonexempt employee to work overtime is generally required to pay the employee premium pay for overtime work at a rate of at least one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. This premium pay requirement does not apply to exempt employees.
Likewise, California law allows an employer to require an employee to work overtime. California employers may dictate an employee’s work schedule and hours. Additionally, under most circumstances the employer may discipline an employee, up to and including termination of employment, if the employee refuses to work scheduled overtime. A California nonexempt employee who is required to work overtime must be compensated at a rate of no less than:
- One and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight hours, up to and including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek; and
- Double the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.
Note that, generally, the overtime rules under California law are dictated by the Wage Order applicable to the employer’s industry.
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