Many people who work in manufacturing, customer service and other fields are hourly workers. As an hourly worker, you have certain rights under both state and federal law. Unfortunately, many employers will not respect those rights unless you actively stand up for them. One of those rights is the right to overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in any given pay period.
Make sure you know when your work week starts and ends
Hourly workers often assume that their work week starts on a Monday morning and ends on Friday afternoon. Under federal law, a work week is actually a seven day period that can start on any day of the week and at any time of day.
The main thing that matters is consistency. Your employer cannot constantly adjust or change when the work week starts and ends to avoid paying staff overtime. Occasional adjustments are permissible, but constant fluctuations are a potential warning sign of something wrong.
Once you know when your work week starts and ends, you can track the hours you work in that pay period. Any hours that you work above 40 during that seven day period should receive time-and-a-half pay, also known as overtime pay.
California law creates a second form of overtime
In addition to the standard federal overtime law, which requires that employers pay at least time and a half for hours worked over 40 in a week, California has other overtime requirements.
Any staff member who works more than 12 hours in a given shift should receive double time compensation for any hours over 12 worked. It is important for employees to track both their overall number of hours and any hours that go over the 12-hour marker. Your employer should also be paying close attention so your paycheck reflects those overtime hours.
Your employer cannot legally ask you to work off the clock
Many retail establishments and even manufacturing facilities do their best to limit overtime wages. One of the ways they do this is by breaking the law sometimes. They may ask employees to clock out and then return to work. That is a violation of your right to pay, and you do not need to comply with that request.
You should document every time your employer attempts to make you or other employees work without overtime compensation or hourly compensation. If your employer refuses to compensate you appropriately or takes action against you because you requested your overtime pay as required by law, you may need to take legal action to protect your rights.