Federal Overtime Rights FLSA

This page is dedicated to Overtime Pay Laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act and California Labor Code. Although this page should help employees understand some of the relevant laws, it is by no means a replacement for contacting an an employment lawyer.  Our employment lawyers offer free consultations and take qualified  individual cases and class action lawsuits on a contingency (no win, no fee) basis. 


Federal law is different than California law when it comes to employment laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act, also known as the FLSA, mandates that companies pay employees one and a half times the regular rate of pay when the employees work more than 40 hours in a workweek. The California Labor Code, in addition to requiring employers to pay employees overtime for working more than 40 hour weeks, also requires employers to pay employees one and a half times the regular rate of pay when the employee works more than 8 hours in a single day or when the employee works seven consecutive workdays in the same workweek. This difference between federal and state law is only one of many important. 



(1) LABOR LAW BREAKS - According to Overtime Pay Laws in California, employees are entitled to a 30 minute labor law break for every 5 hours of work. Under federal law, however, there is not a labor law break provision. 

(2) UNREIMBURSED BUSINESS EXPENSES - Under the California Labor Code, employers can sue their employer for work related expenses that the employed paid for out of pocket. These are referred to business expense reimbursement laws and do not exist under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

(3) EXEMPT VS. NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEES -  In exempt vs. non-exempt lawsuits under California law, in order to be exempt from overtime pay laws, administrative employees must perform job duties that meet the test of the exemption more than 50% of the time, whereas under Federal overtime laws, employees must perform job duties that meet the test of the exemption a majority of the time, which does not necessarily mean 50% or more of the time. 

(4) DAMAGES & PENALTIES - Under California labor laws, employees can recover damages for the unpaid wages and additional penalties, like, waiting time penalties. Under federal law, employees can recover double damages for certain violations (often referred to as “liquidated damages”). 

Employee Options for Filing an Overtime Claim 

When employees believe that their company may have been acting in violation of their employee rights, they have 2 options if they wish to pursue an individual lawsuit or class action lawsuit.  The First option for employees is that they can contact an employment lawyer for advice about overtime pay laws. Many employment lawyers take these types of claims on a contingency fee basis. The second option for employees is to file a claim with the California Labor Board. Although both options are viable and have their pros and cons, unlike private lawyers, the California Labor Board cannot go after penalties for FLSA violations and can only extend the statute of limitations to 3 instead of 4 years. 



For additional information about our approach to unfair pay practices anywhere in the state, contact the California overtime attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik for a free consultation. We represent workers in individual and class action lawsuits on a contingency basis in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Clara and throughout California.