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Featured / October 5, 2023

Demystifying Overtime Pay: How to Calculate Overtime in California

Did you know that nearly 10% of employees in California are not paid properly for their overtime hours? As a California-based employment law firm representing workers in wage and hour cases, we are dedicated to ensuring fair compensation, especially when it comes to overtime pay. According to recent reports, overtime violations in California have resulted in millions of dollars in unpaid wages for employees. In this guide, we will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how to calculate overtime pay in California, empowering you to navigate your work situations confidently and seek the fair compensation you deserve for your extra efforts.

Know the Overtime Laws in California:

Before diving into the calculations, it is crucial to understand California's overtime laws. In California, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than eight hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek. Additionally, any work performed beyond 12 hours in a workday or more than 8 hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek should be compensated at double the regular hourly rate.

Determine the Number of Overtime Hours:

To correctly calculate overtime pay, it is essential to identify the number of overtime hours worked in a given workday or workweek. For instance, if an employee works 10 hours in a day, two of those hours would qualify as overtime. Similarly, if an employee works 45 hours in a week, five of those hours would be considered overtime.

Calculate Overtime Pay:

Once you have determined the number of overtime hours, you can proceed to calculate overtime pay. The overtime rate is usually one and a half times the regular pay rate. For each overtime hour worked, the employee should be paid one and a half times their regular hourly rate. For double overtime (hours worked beyond 12 in a day or more than 8 hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek), the employee should be paid double their regular hourly rate.

To illustrate, let's assume an employee's regular hourly rate is $15, and they worked two overtime hours in a day. The calculation would be as follows:

Overtime Pay = (Regular Hourly Rate x 1.5) x Number of Overtime Hours

Overtime Pay = ($15 x 1.5) x 2

Overtime Pay = $22.50 x 2

Overtime Pay = $45

Include Shift Differentials and Bonuses:

In some cases, employees may receive shift differentials or bonuses, which should be factored into the overtime calculations. Shift differentials are additional pay for working certain shifts, such as night shifts or weekends. Bonuses that are based on hours worked should also be included in the regular pay rate for overtime calculations.


Calculating overtime pay in California is essential for ensuring employees receive fair compensation for their hard work and dedication. By understanding California's overtime laws and following the correct calculations, workers can confidently assert their rights and seek the wages they rightfully deserve. As an experienced employment firm, we encourage potential clients to be aware of their rights regarding overtime pay and other wage-related matters. If you have concerns about your overtime pay or need assistance with wage and hour issues, don't hesitate to reach out for legal guidance. Together, we can ensure a fair and just working environment for all employees in California.

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