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Short Shifts for Alternative Workweek Schedules

Wage and Hour Lawyers Helping California Employees

If you are a non-exempt employee, your employer must pay you overtime under certain circumstances. Ordinarily, in California, your employer needs to pay you overtime if you are a non-exempt employee, and you work more than eight hours a day or more than 40 hours in a workweek for the seventh day in a row. Some employees are exempt from overtime laws. However, state law does provide for alternative workweek schedules. When you have an alternative workweek schedule, different rules apply to overtime pay. The calculation may be complex. If you are required to work a “short shift” or fewer hours than the scheduled alternative workweek, your employer must still pay you normal overtime. As a worker, it can be difficult to know whether you should be paid overtime for a short shift for an alternative workweek schedule. The experienced California wage and hour lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm may be able to counsel you and provide legal representation in connection with a wage claim.

Short Shift for an Alternative Workweek Schedule

Under California Labor Code section 511 and certain wage orders, your employer can provide for alternative workweek schedules. Alternative workweek schedules are any regularly scheduled workweeks that require you to work more than eight hours in a 24-hour period without overtime pay. Alternative workweek schedules can be created for an entire department or unit that can be readily identified. When an employer wishes to institute an alternative workweek schedule, it is required to take certain steps, including the approval by secret ballot election of at least two-thirds of the affected employees. These schedules are particularly common in the health care and emergency fields.

Once the alternative schedule has been properly put in place, your employer is required to abide by it. You are entitled to depend on the alternative workweek schedule that has been approved. If you are required to work a “short shift” or a shift with reduced hours in an alternative workweek, different rules will apply to your overtime pay.

If you have a typical alternative work schedule, you can work four 10-hour days. However, any work that you do beyond the established schedule will be subject to an overtime rate, including double time. For instance, if you are set to work 11 hours in a day as part of an alternative work schedule, and you work 12 hours, the added hour will be paid at time and a half. Any hours that you work beyond 12 must be paid at twice the ordinary hourly rate. For instance, if you are set to work 10 hours in a shift, and you instead work 14, you will need to be paid two hours at double time. 

Overtime Claims

With an alternative workweek schedule, your reduced-hour workday is also subject to ordinary overtime pay when your employer departs from the schedule and gives you a short shift. In that situation, your employer will need to pay you overtime if you work more than eight hours, but less than required under the alternative workweek schedule. For example, if you are scheduled to work 10 hours in a day in an alternative workweek schedule, but you are sent home after only working nine hours, you are entitled to overtime for one hour because you did not get the chance to work the complete scheduled shift. Your employer may also need to pay you overtime if it schedules you for a shift on a day when you are ordinarily not scheduled to work under the approved alternative workweek.

If you were not properly paid overtime when given short shifts in an alternative workweek schedule, our lawyers may be able to file a claim against your employer for unpaid overtime, regardless of whether your employer explicitly approved the overtime that you worked.

Consult Our California Attorneys

Your employer should abide by the alternative workweek that it puts in place. If you are concerned about whether you are getting properly paid for overtime in connection with short shifts for alternative workweek schedules, you should consult our experienced wage and hour lawyers. For more than 20 years, The Nourmand Law Firm has represented workers in wage and hour claims in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Oakland and Sacramento, among other areas of California. Complete our online form or call us at 310-553-3600 or 800-700-WAGE (9243).

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