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Is an employer required to pay overtime if it was unauthorized?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2022 | Wage & Hour Laws

Overtime pay is a fundamental part of employment law in California. Often, workers are unaware about the smaller details about overtime. They might have a basic understanding that they should be paid 1.5 times their regular wages if they work beyond 40 hours in a workweek and more in some cases, but there are other factors that could slip by and deprive them of extra pay at a higher rate when they are entitled to it. One example that could be confusing is if the worker was not authorized to work overtime by the employer, but did so anyway. Unauthorized overtime is still overtime and the worker should be paid for it.

Eligible workers are entitled to overtime if they work beyond regular hours

If a worker who is eligible for overtime goes beyond their regular hours, they have the right to get it. This is any work that went beyond eight hours and as many as 12 hours in a workday. They should also be paid overtime for the first eight hours of the seventh day if they have worked seven consecutive days. Workers who go beyond 12 hours in a workday or if they work more than eight hours on the seventh day of a workweek are to receive double their regular hourly wages.

An example might be a laborer whose duties include bringing deliveries to a warehouse from the delivery truck. If that worker’s hours are based on an eight-hour workday and they stay behind after their days is technically over to help unload the truck, they should be compensated for the extra time they spent working whether the employer asked them to or not; whether it was authorized or not. Workers should be aware that if they work beyond their normal hours without authorization, the employer has the right to discipline them.

When in a wage dispute, it is crucial to have experienced advice

Workers should know how to receive the pay they are entitled to under the wage and hour laws. It is also imperative for workers not to be fearful of asking for the wages – overtime and otherwise – even if they might be disciplined for it. For some workers, there might be a fear of retaliation or the misconception that simply staying silent will be better for them and prevent disfavor with the employer. That too is a mistake. When overtime hours were worked – regardless of the circumstances – and the worker was not paid, it is essential to seek experienced advice on what to do to get what is owed.