Limits on California overtime work hours

On Behalf of | Jan 1, 2019 | Firm News, wage and hour |

The prospect of working overtime is not always welcomed by California workers. Some are pleased to take some overtime to help pay for extra expenses, while others dread it and wonder if they can legally stop their employer from requiring them to put in the overtime. State law does lay down some restrictions on overtime, though employers retain broad discretion in requiring it.

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, an employer can require a worker to put in overtime hours. Under state law, an employer has the authority to dictate the work schedule of an employee plus the hours that the employee must put in. So if you blatantly refuse to work overtime, you would be subject to discipline and even firing by your superior.

However, there are limits to how much overtime an employer can require. California law prohibits employers from requiring you to work on a seventh day of the workweek. A person cannot be employed continuously day to day without taking a day of rest. If an employer induces or coerces a worker to put off a day of rest, the employer is subject to penalties.

On the other hand, an employee can make a decision to forfeit a day of rest. Some California workers may have their own reasons to want to work without taking a day off to rest. However, these workers must know beforehand that they are legally entitled to a rest day before making their choice.

Also keep in mind that certain employees may not be required to work additional hours. The work schedules of minors are strictly regulated by California law, with restrictions varying according to age groups. Twelve and thirteen year olds, for instance, cannot be at work during any school day, even if before or after school hours, and can only receive employment during vacations or school holidays.