Off-the-Clock Work and Overtime Wages

In California, a non-exempt, i.e. hourly, employee must be paid for all hours of work. This means that the employee cannot be required to clock out and keep working because, for example, they have reached the end of their scheduled shift but still have a few tasks that they need to complete before leaving for the day. Similarly, an employee cannot be required to perform work for an employer before they clock in for the day at their scheduled start time. Effectively, if an employee is under the direction or control of the employer, then they are performing work under California law and must be compensated for their time.

How Our Employment Attorneys Help You

KLF's employment attorneys work with you to determine whether or not you have been getting paid correctly. If you have not been getting compensated correctly, we advise you on the best way for us to get your employer to stop underpaying you and to provide you with the unpaid regular and overtime wages that you may be owed. We negotiate on your behalf and file a lawsuit as necessary. If we find that your employer has underpaid other workers, we may be able to help them, too.

Contact us regardless of whether or not you are confident that your employer owes you wages. And no amount of unpaid wages is too small — if your employer benefited from your work or even so much as knew you were working, you deserve to be paid. Based in Glendale, we represent employees in the Los Angeles area and throughout California. All consultations are free and confidential.

California Overtime Law


In addition to their regular rate of pay, an hourly employee in California ordinarily must be paid overtime in three circumstances:

  1. if they work over 8 hours in a day,
  2. if they work over 40 hours in a week, or
  3. if they regularly work seven days in a row.

The overtime rate must be 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. For example, if an employee is normally paid $20 an hour, their overtime rate would be $30 an hour.


An hourly employee must ordinarily be paid double-time in two circumstances:

  1. if they work over 12 hours a day, or
  2. if they work over 8 hours on their seventh day of work in that workweek.

Non-Discretionary Bonuses

What are referred to as “non-discretionary bonuses” must also factor into the overtime rate of pay. A non-discretionary bonus is an extra payment that the employer is obligated to make if a certain condition is fulfilled. For example, if an employer states that they will pay $80 extra each week to all employees so long as there are no safety violations in the workplace during that week, this payment is a non-discretionary bonus because the employer is obligated to pay those funds if the required conditions are met, i.e. if no safety violation occurred during that week.

Non-discretionary bonuses are added to a worker's regular hourly rate when calculating their overtime rate. If it is a weekly bonus like in this example, the amount of the bonus is divided up among the number of hours in a regular work week and added to the hourly rate.

So, to illustrate based on this example, if an employee works a 40-hour workweek Monday through Friday at a $20 hourly rate, and no safety violation occurs, the regular rate of pay for computing overtime would be $22 per hour ($80 weekly safety bonus divided by 40 hours worked that week is $2 per hour, which is added to the baseline $20 hourly rate). As a result, if that employee was then told to come in on Saturday, they must be paid $33 per hour — the $22 per hour regular rate multiplied by 1.5.

Talk to an Attorney About Off-the-Clock Work and Overtime Wages

If you would like to discuss an off-the-clock or overtime issue, we encourage you to email or call the firm at (818) 221-2800. If your employment rights have been violated, we can help. All consultations are free and confidential.