Double time rules seem complicated because we hear a lot about it from many different places. Some companies offer double time for holidays, but that’s just a benefit, not a law. Some countries offer double time on Sundays, but that’s not how it works in the US. Double time rules are pretty simple actually. There are only two instances in which employees should get double time pay.
Who Gets Double Time Pay?
Federal law has no requirement for double time pay. California, however, does. Hourly employees who work long shifts or long weeks might be entitled to double time compensation.
California Double Time Laws
California workers get double time pay in two cases:
1. When hours exceed 12 in a day
When an employee works over 12 hours in a workday, the employee should make double time for all the time worked thereafter during the workday.
2. On the seventh consecutive day, after 8 hours
When an employee works seven consecutive days, the employee is entitled to double time pay after the first 8 hours on that seventh workday.
Statement from the California DIR:
For all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.
When Double Time May Not Apply
When employees work through the end of their workday and into the next, they might not get double time even after working over 12 hours. This is because working into the next day effectively creates 2 shifts on two different workdays.
Cutting off the workday in the middle of a shift is legal as long as it is set once and then left alone. So an employer cannot reset the workday throughout the week in order to deliberately reduce double time (or overtime). But the employer can choose to set the workday at noon if he or she pleases.
For employees who work consecutive 12 hour days, the time of the workday doesn’t really matter. If the employee works 7 hours in the morning, takes the afternoon off, and then works another 6 in the evening, the employee would still get double time pay. The workday might be an issue for an employee who works over 12 hours from one workday into the next and then is not scheduled for another shift that day. In this situation, the employee could work 7 hours in the evening and 6 hours in the morning, cutting off the workday. If the employee doesn’t have another evening shift, the employee wouldn’t get double time. An every other day on/off schedule could cause the employee to not get double time.
“A workday is a consecutive 24-hour period beginning at the same time each calendar day, but it may begin at any time of day. The beginning of an employee’s workday need not coincide with the beginning of that employee’s shift, and an employer may establish different workdays for different shifts. However, once a workday is established it may be changed only if the change is intended to be permanent and the change is not designed to evade overtime obligations.” – Dir.Ca
How to Calculate Double Time
Double time kicks in after overtime already kicked in. So if an employee gets double time, they also have some overtime.
For example, an employee will work 8 hours in a given workday, paid at the regular rate of pay. All the time after 8 hours but before 12 will be paid at time and a half. After the 12th hour, time needs to be paid at double the employee’s rate of pay.
For a shift longer than 12 hours, there will be three rates of pay in an employee’s payroll calculation.
Timesheets.com is an online time tracking software that takes the headache out of double time calculations.