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California companies: Use care with no-overtime policies

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2022 | Wage and Hour Laws |

Staffing costs are a big part of why running a business is so expensive. Even if a company only offers its workers minimum wage and part-time employment to avoid benefit obligations, those wages will be a big part of its operating costs. 

One of the ways a company can minimize staffing expenses is by having a no-overtime policy. Many companies require that workers seek management approval if they want to put in more than 40 hours in a specific workweek. Some companies even require corporate approval for overtime work. 

If something happened that forced you to work more than 40 hours in one week, the company policy forbidding overtime does not override your right to overtime pay. 

Federal law on overtime rate is very clear

When an hourly worker or a salaried worker who does not make enough to be exempt from overtime requirements puts in more than 40 hours of work in a given workweek, their employer must pay them at least 150% of their usual hourly wage for that extra time. Your right to overtime wages stems from how long you work, not your compliance with company policies. 

Even if a worker did not follow the business’s internal practices for approving overtime, if they put in the hours, the company has to pay them. Whether you ran into complications during a shift or had to cover for a sick co-worker, you deserve overtime pay for those extra hours. 

A company adjusting the time clock to diminish someone’s shifts or only paying them for 40 hours when they worked 45 hours has likely violated that worker’s pay rights. Bringing a wage claim against your employer can help you get the overtime pay that they should have paid you but didn’t.