California law requires employers to pay overtime to all non-exempt employees. Overtime pay is one and one-half (1 1/2) times the employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours per week. Also, overtime pay is due to all non-exempt employees for all hours worked over 8 hours per day up to and including 12 hours in a workday, and for the first 8 hours worked on the seventh consecutive day in a workweek. In addition, double the employee's regular rate of pay is due for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday, and for all hours worked in excess of 8 hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in any workweek.
Regardless of whether the employee was terminated or quit, employers are required to promptly and immediately pay all wages due to an employee no matter whether he/she was terminated or voluntarily resigned. Wages are broadly defined to include such benefits as accrued vacation days that an employer must also pay. For commission employees, wages includes any amount that can be readily calculated as having already been earned. If an employee is fired, all wages due to the employee must be paid to him/her on the last day of work. If an employee quits without notice, the employer has seventy-two (72) hours from being notified to pay all wages due to the employee. If the employee does provide seventy-two (72) hours notice before quitting, then all wages are due to the employee on the last day of his/her employment. Employers who willfully violate these laws may be required to pay penalties of up to thirty (30) days of wages to the employee. This thirty (30) days of pay is calculated using the employee's per day wages, not what the employee would regularly make in thirty days.
Employers often violate the law when they pay a salary to employees that should be paid at an hourly rate of pay. This occurs when they misclassify the employee. Unpaid wages, penalties and interest are due regardless of whether the misclassification is intentional or not. Overtime pay violations also frequently occur with employers who do not allow employees to report more than 40 hours per week or that require employees to work "off the clock."
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