Minimum Time Between Shifts for Hourly Employees in California

how many hours between shifts is legal in californiaHave you ever been scheduled to work from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m., and then from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m.?

Or maybe you were asked to pull a double shift, with one eight-hour shift ending at noon and the other beginning at 2 p.m.?

If this kind of schedule is all too familiar to you, you may be wondering if your employer is in violation of California labor laws.

Unfortunately, the answer is no, with very few exceptions.

How many hours between shifts is legal in California?

Though California does not have any laws regarding time between shifts, it does have laws requiring employers to pay overtime for hours worked beyond the standard eight-hour workday.

According to California Wage Orders, working beyond the standard eight hours in any given workday is permissible so long as the employee is 18 years of age or older or at least 16 or 17 and not required to attend school. However, if an employee puts in over eight hours in a given day, he or she may be entitled to overtime pay. In most cases, work performed beyond the typical eight hours should be compensated at not less than:

  • One and one half the employee’s normal rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a workweek;
  • One and one half the employee’s normal rate of pay for the first eight hours worked on the employee’s seventh consecutive workday in a single workweek; and
  • Double the employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any given workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight hours on the seventh consecutive workday.

The Exceptions To Overtime

California provides for executive, administrative, and professional exemptions to California’s overtime laws. However, like all legal exemptions, they are not cut and dry. The best way to determine if an exemption applies to you is to discuss your hours and the scope of the work you perform with an employee rights attorney.

If you are a salaried employee, you may still be entitled to compensation for hours you work beyond the average eight-hour workday. In order to calculate your hourly wage, simply divide your weekly salary by 40.

Alternative Workweek Schedule in California

Overtime laws may not apply to employees who agree to or opt for an alternative workweek schedule. Alternative workweek schedules are common in the healthcare and emergency fields, and typically candidates are aware of such a schedule when they apply. A typical alternative work schedule is four 10-hour days.

However, any work performed beyond the established schedule is subject to the overtime rate, including double time. For example, if an employee is scheduled to work 10 hours in a day as part of an alternative work schedule and ends up working 12 hours, the additional 2 hours would be paid time and a half.

Any hours worked beyond 12 would be paid at double the normal hourly rate.

Several other provisions govern the healthcare industry and hours worked by employers beyond the overtime standards.

For more information about whether or not your employer is treating you fairly and in accordance with state law, talk to a knowledgeable Los Angeles workplace rights lawyer.

Consult With a Los Angeles Employees Rights Attorney

If the law seems confusing to you, you are not alone. However, here at Workplace Rights Law Group, we have dedicated our lives to understanding California labor laws and to ensuring that employers everywhere uphold those laws.

If you believe that your employer has violated your rights, it does not hurt to reach out to our Los Angeles workplace rights lawyers. Call our office today to schedule your free case review.


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