Under California law, full employees are entitled to overtime pay once they work more than 40 hours in a work week, or 8 hours in a work day. However, there are many different exemptions that can disqualify a worker from receiving overtime pay. Because employers are generally reluctant to pay out “time and a half” in costs for every worker, your employer may claim that you are exempt from overtime to avoid paying a fair wage.
Employment law is complicated, but at Habbas & Associates, our attorneys will strive to help you understand your rights as a California worker. While it may not always be easy to tell if you’re entitled to overtime pay, your employer is legally obligated to give you that payment if you are working beyond normal hours. When you need assistance with a claim, our team can help you navigate that situation with ease.
Types of Worker Exemptions in California
The purpose of overtime pay is to ensure that workers have a fair work-life balance, and that they are being adequately compensated for time spent outside of daily working hours. In recognition of this fact, California presumes that all workers are entitled to overtime pay – which means that it’s on your employer to provide evidence that you donot need these additional benefits.
That being said, many employers take steps to misclassify their workers as exempt, or even outright refuse to pay overtime. There are many different exemptions with complex requirements, so you may need the assistance of an experienced attorney to determine if you are actually exempt.
Here are some of the most common worker exemption categories in California:
- Independent contractors: If you’re an independent contractor, you are not eligible for overtime pay. This is because the Fair Labor Standards Act only covers minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for full employees. However, many full employees are misclassified as independent contractors, as it is fairly easy for employers to label their work as "independent."
- Salaried employees: Most salaried employees will not be eligible for overtime pay, but this is not because they are salaried. In order to be considered exempt from overtime pay, a salaried employee must also meet other criteria related to their job duties. If your job is mostly administrative, professional, or executive in nature, you could be exempt.
- Individuals who work on commission: Many jobs are based on commissions, or a percentage of a final sale, rather than a baseline wage. If an employee earns more than half of their wages from commission, or makes more than one and a half times the minimum wage, then they will be classified as exempt from overtime pay.
Fighting for Non-Exempt Workers’ Rights
Even if you believe that you fall into one of the categories above, that still may not mean that you’re exempt from overtime pay. For instance, many salaried workers should actually be classified as “salary non-exempt” in the eyes of the law, because their duties are not primarily administrative, executive, or professional. Additionally, there may be cases where commission-based roles fail to meet the required amounts for an overtime exemption.
When companies misclassify their employees, it can lead to wage and hour violations, or a denial of overtime pay. Regardless of the reason your employer has avoided overtime pay, you retain certain rights as a worker. With the help of our team, you may be able to fight back and secure the fair compensation you deserve.
Call (888) 387-4053 today for a consultation with our legal team.