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Understanding California's overtime law

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Many people spend the majority of their week at their jobs. For those who work beyond the usual 40-hour workweek, additional compensation may be required.

To seek the proper compensation due, it is important to understand the law. California employees should know a few key facts. 

The law

While there are federal laws in place, California has its own overtime laws, which are more strenuous. In short, employees are not allowed to work more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a workweek at the regular pay rate. While these basic terms are pretty straight forward, it is the details of the terms, such as the definition of an employee and the workweek, that make California's laws so specific. Employers who do not provide overtime pay violate of the law and risk hefty fines and the possible loss of their business. 

Position matters

California's overtime law applies to company employees who are under contract for a certain number of hours. The contract should detail the regular hours and the regular pay rate, as well as the overtime pay rates. Salaried, or executive employees, may not qualify for the same overtime rights. Non-employee contractors do not qualify for overtime pay either, in most cases.

Pursuing a claim

When employees believe there is a discrepancy in their pay, the first step is to speak with Human Resources. However, if the company refuses to rectify the matter, employees may escalate matters to a claim. In either case, it is beneficial to keep a record of the hours the employee worked. Particularly in the case of a claim, this documentation is key and will allow the employee to claim all overtime, along with attorney fees and possible liquidated damages.

For many employees, receiving just compensation is critical to financial stability. Understanding and applying these facts can aid employees in determining the proper route to take in their situations.

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