Business owners and employees alike are confused by complicated double time rules. Some companies offer double time for holidays. Some don’t. Some types of employees get double time. Some don’t. Some states offer double time, most states don’t. If you’re an employee, how do you know if you’re due double time and how do employers calculate it? Read on to learn about double time laws, who gets it, and how to calculate it.
Who Gets Double Time?
The FLSA has no requirement for double time pay. California, however, does. It is not uncommon, however, for employers all over the country to pay their employees double time for working on holidays. An employee should check with their employer about holiday pay rates, as this is not a mandatory benefit.
What is the Double Time Rule?
California workers get double time pay in two cases:
1. Hours exceeding 12 in a day
When the hours worked in one day exceed 12, employees are paid double time for every hour worked thereafter.
2. Seventh consecutive day
If an employee works seven consecutive days, they are entitled to double time pay after the first 8 hours on that seventh workday.
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.
Why An Employee Might Not Get Double Time
Setting an employee’s workday to the middle of an employee’s normal shift can eliminate the employee’s double time by effectively creating 2 shifts on two different workdays. I am not suggesting that an employer do this to try and short an employee their double time but I want to make employees aware of why they might not see the double time they were expecting to see on their paychecks.
Cutting off the workday in the middle of a shift is legal, oddly enough, as long as it is set once and then left alone. So an employer cannot reset the workday throughout the week in order to reduce double time (or overtime).
For employees who work consecutive days the time of the work day would not really matter but if the employee had a day off after their long shift, then the double time would not have a chance to kick in on their next shift.
“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
Calculating double time is a little complicated because double time kicks in after overtime has already kicked in. For example, an employee will work 8 hours in a given workday, paid at his regular rate of pay. All 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 time the employee’s rate of pay. So for a shift longer than 12 hours, there will be three rates of pay in an employee’s payroll calculation.
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