Are Employers Required to Pay Overtime for Reduced Hours in an Alternative Workweek Schedule?

Generally, a California employer is required to pay overtime if an employee works more than eight hours a day, more than 40 non-overtime hours in a workweek, a seventh consecutive day in a workweek—although some employees are exempt from overtime laws.

Alternatively, under California labor law, California employees may adopt an alternative workweek schedule upon the proposal of an employer. In this context, an alternative workweek schedule is any regular workweek schedule that requires an employee to work more than 8 hours in 24 hours without overtime—such schedules are standard in healthcare settings. An employee can agree to work up to 10 hours per day without overtime pay in an alternative workweek schedule. However, any hours an employee works beyond the alternative workweek hours or beyond 40 hours in a workweek are still subject to overtime pay.

Adopting an Alternative Workweek Schedule

As one article notes, an employer has to follow certain steps before implementing an alternative workweek. Before implementing an alternative workweek, an employer must: provide written notice to all affected employees, conduct a vote by secret ballot, hold a meeting to discuss the effects of the alternative workweek, have the schedule approved by a two-thirds vote of affected employees, notify employees of the results, send a written report to register the new schedule with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement within 30 days of the results, wait 30 days after the final results before implementing the new schedule, and maintain records of all proposals, communications, and results concerning the schedule change.

Short Shifts and Overtime

If an employee with an alternative workweek schedule is required to work a shift with reduced hours, the rules change. If an employee is subject to an alternative workweek schedule and the employer requires the employee to work fewer hours than the scheduled alternative workweek schedule (a “short shift”), the reduced-hour workday is subject to normal overtime pay. That is, for a short shift, the employer must pay the employee overtime if the employee worked more than eight hours in any reduced-hour workday. The employer must pay the employee one-and-one-half times the regular rate for hours worked between eight and twelve hours and double the regular rate for any hours worked over 12 hours per day. An employee that has not properly been paid overtime may file a claim against their employer for unpaid overtime. This may be true even if an employer does not explicitly approve overtime.

California Employment Lawyers Dedicated to Fighting for Workers

Unfortunately, too many employers fail to adhere to wage and hour laws. At The Nourmand Law Firm, we have dedicated our practice to protecting employees and their rights for more than two decades. Our California employment lawyers will work hard to make sure that your rights are asserted in a dispute with your employer. The Nourmand Law Firm assists employees in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Oakland and Sacramento, among other areas. To set up a free consultation today, complete our online form or call us at 800-700-9243.

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