Avoiding unnecessary overtime pay is a standard goal of most businesses. However, what qualifies as overtime can be confusing in California.

As a business, you decide what your company’s official 7-day “workweek” will be. Your workweek doesn’t move around so choose carefully because this determines when you owe overtime for employees working more than a standard 5-day week.

You pay overtime for any time worked over 8 hours on any day or for more than 40 hours in a week. You’ll also pay “7th day” overtime when the employee is working all 7 days of your workweek. This means there was no “day of rest” in your workweek so the 7th day is automatically overtime pay, regardless of how many or how few hours the employee worked on the other days or that 7th day.

If your workweek is Monday – Sunday, this doesn’t mean every Sunday is automatically overtime pay. To qualify for 7th day overtime, the employee must work Monday through Sunday to make Sunday the 7th day worked in the workweek. If they had any days off that week, they’ve had a day of rest so there can’t be a 7th day worked in that workweek. Employees can work up to 12 days in a row without hitting the 7th day rule because you’d start the count over every Monday.

Overall, it’s best to avoid having employees work more than 6 days in a row at any time. The overtime messes with your profit margin, you’ll lose productivity, and potentially burn out that employee. Make sure there aren’t other alternatives before scheduling or allowing employees to work those extra hours.



About Your Columnist

CJ Westrick

CJ Westrick is a featured columnist for Women Lead, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers all things human resources and managing people in the workplace. CJ Westrick, SPHR, has been in human resources (HR) management for over 20 years and has maintained her SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) national certification since 2002. She started HR Jungle, a human resources consulting firm, in 2006 to provide senior-level HR expertise to businesses without internal HR.

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