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 Know the Labor Laws for Overtime and Double Time Pay

In the vast landscape of employment and labor laws, both employers and employees in California must have a comprehensive understanding of overtime and double-time regulations. California, known for its progressive labor laws, provides certain rights and protections to employees, including overtime and double-time pay provisions.


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a federal law, sets the minimum wage, overtime pay standards, and other employee protections. However, each state can make its labor laws as well. California holds companies to its unique regulations. This article aims to shed light on the intricacies of these labor laws, clarifying when overtime and double time apply, how they work, and how to ensure compliance with the established regulations.

When is it Considered Overtime?

Overtime is the additional compensation paid to employees for working beyond the standard workweek. In California, overtime is applicable under specific circumstances defined by the law. According to the California Labor Code, non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay if they work more than eight hours in a workday or more than 40 hours in a workweek. Additionally, California law requires overtime pay for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek. Overtime is also mandated for any hours exceeding 12 in a workday or any hours exceeding eight on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek.

Many individual states augment federal law with their legislation. The Department of Labor hosts a page where employers can click on a map to view overtime laws for their states of operation (

When is it Considered Double Time?

Double-time pay goes beyond the standard overtime rate, providing even greater compensation for employees working excessively long hours or on designated holidays. In California, labor laws stipulate that employees are entitled to double-time pay under specific circumstances. Employees who work more than 12 hours in a single workday are entitled to double-time pay for every hour exceeding the 12-hour threshold. Additionally, double-time pay is required for any hours worked beyond eight on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek.

Companies often use double time instead of paid time off, such as sick or vacation days.

Companies with double-time policies pay employees twice their regular pay for excessive overtime hours. 

Although different states have unique overtime rules, California's double-time law requires construction businesses to pay more for hours beyond overtime. The state considers hours worked beyond 12 per day as double time.

How Does Overtime Work in California?

Overtime pay in California is calculated based on a formula that ensures fair compensation for employees who exceed the standard work hours. Employees are entitled to one and a half times their regular pay rate for hours worked beyond the regular workday or workweek. This rate, known as the overtime rate, ensures that employees receive adequate compensation for their additional efforts. Employers must be diligent in their record-keeping practices to accurately track and calculate overtime hours.

California uses the 8-hour workday as a standard. The state considers hours worked beyond 8 hours in a single day or 40 hours in a single work week to be overtime. Even more, if an employee works a seven-day week,California considers the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of overtime.

According to California law, employers must pay workers 1.5 times their standard pay rate for overtime hours. 

For example: If an employee usually works for $12 per hour and they work 10 hours on Monday (8+2), the employee is entitled to an additional $36 (2 x ($12 x 1.5)) for the two extra overtime hours.

How Does Double Time Work in California?

While overtime pay provides additional compensation, double-time pay is a further incentive for employees who work extensively or during designated holidays. Double-time pay in California is calculated at twice the employee's regular pay rate. This means that employees are entitled to receive twice their regular pay rate for every hour worked beyond the 12-hour threshold in a workday or beyond eight hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek. 

For example: If an employee usually works for $12 per hour and they work 14 hours in a single day (8+4 overtime hours + 2 double time hours), the employer must pay the employee an extra $120 ((4 overtime hours x 1.5 pay)+ (2 double time hours x 2 pay)).

How to Calculate Double Time Pay in California

Employers must determine the employee's regular pay rate to calculate double-time pay in California accurately. This includes all forms of compensation, such as hourly wages, salary, commissions, and non-discretionary bonuses. Once the regular pay rate is established, employers can multiply it by two for every hour that qualifies for double time. Maintaining accurate records and payroll systems is essential to ensure compliance with these calculations and prevent any potential wage and hour violations.

To calculate overtime in California, you must place excess hours into two categories, overtime pay and double-time pay.

Consider hours worked more than eight and less than 12 on a single day to be overtime. 

Consider hours worked above 12 in a single day to be double-time.

Consider hours up to 8 worked on the 7th day of the week to be overtime.

Consider hours worked above eight on the 7th day of the week to be double time.

1.    Add up any hours between 8 and 12 on all days. These are overtime hours.

2.    Add up any hours worked up to 8 on the 7th day of the week. These are overtime hours.

3.    Add up hours over 12 worked on all days. These are double-time hours.

4.    Add up hours over eight worked on the 7th day. These are double-time hours.

5.    Multiply the total overtime hours by (regular pay x1.5).

6.    Multiply the total double time hours by (regular pay x2).

7.    Add the two pay rate totals together to get total overtime pay.

California Double Time Pay Example


In this example, the employee receives $600 regular pay + $360 overtime pay + $90 double time pay for a total of $1,050 weekly.

How to Set up a Compliant Double-Time Pay Policy

Employers must establish clear policies regarding double-time pay to ensure compliance with California labor laws. These policies should outline the criteria for double-time pay, including the number of hours worked in a single day or consecutive workweek that qualifies for double-time compensation. Communicating these policies to employees, preferably in writing, is crucial to avoid any confusion or disputes. Regular reviews of the policy and periodic updates in accordance with changing labor laws can help maintain compliance.

California enforces its double-time laws. Should an employee complain, the state can impose hefty fines for infractions.

Stay Compliant by Knowing the Federal and State Overtime Laws 

Understanding and complying with federal and state overtime laws is crucial for employers in California. While California labor laws are generally more employee-friendly than federal laws, employers must ensure that they adhere to the state's higher standards. This includes keeping track of overtime hours, accurately calculating overtime pay, and maintaining detailed records. Employers can ensure compliance and avoid costly penalties or legal consequences by staying informed about the latest updates and changes in labor regulations.

You can easily comply with government overtime and double-time laws. First, check the FLSA regulations by visiting the Department of WorkforceServices website (

If you do business in California, review your state's regulations specifically ( Also, consider purchasing a cloud-based payroll solution to ensure your company's labor hours remain up-to-date and accurate.

How hh2's Remote Payroll Can Help You Streamline Payroll Processes and Comply with Regulations

Managing payroll efficiently while complying with labor laws can be complex. hh2's Remote Payroll offers a comprehensive solution to streamline payroll processes and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. With advanced features such as automated time tracking, accurate overtime and double-time pay calculations, and robust record-keeping capabilities, hh2's Remote Payroll simplifies the payroll management process. By leveraging this powerful tool, employers can focus on core business operations while maintaining compliance and avoiding potential pitfalls associated with payroll management.

Remote Payroll enables employees to use smartphones and tablets to punch in and out on the clock. All logged hours flow into custom approval paths where stakeholders can view, sort, and approve time entries. Additionally, field supervisors can enter time for their entire work crews in seconds.

Your accounting employees can view up-to-date reports of coded hours. A few clicks reveal overtime and double-time hours. Payroll managers can quickly spot work crews or individual employees who go over their 40-hour work weeks. Remote Payroll offers a simple way to stay on top of project labor costs.

Best of all, Remote Payroll integrates with the construction industry's most popular accounting systems; this closes the gap between the field and the main office. As a result, all employees can access the same updated data simultaneously.

Navigating the labor laws surrounding overtime and double-time pay in California requires a deep understanding of the regulations and careful attention to detail. By comprehending when overtime and double time apply, how they are calculated, and how to establish compliant policies, employers, and employees can ensure fair compensation and avoid legal complications. Additionally, leveraging innovative payroll solutions like hh2's Remote Payroll can further streamline payroll processes and contribute to maintaining compliance with labor laws, ultimately fostering a productive and harmonious work environment.


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