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Dodging Double Time – The Loophole

Workers would believe that overtime and double time rules are pretty simple. They think they should be able to add up the number of hours that should be counted for both based on the number of hours they work every week, but the estimations can get somewhat tricky. There are even methods that companies can consciously evade paying double time (and even overtime) for some types of workers and in particular situations.

Since workers don’t see it coming, they can get moderately down about their less than normal paychecks – particularly after working such extended hours.

Here’s how it can happen:

The California Law

In California, workers get the time and a half for hours worked over 8 in a day or 40 in a week. They get twice the time for any time served over 12 hours each day and any time worked more than 8 hours on the 7th day. Pretty much simple, right? Just score up the hours and figure the double-time. Here is how it can get complex:

Loophole 1

In California, a worker could work 80 hours in a week and not get double time: by working precisely 12 hours a day for six days, and then only eight on the 7th day. This is not going to be a normal situation because the worker would still be owed a lot of regular overtime and that pay would be expensive, but it is expedient.

Loophole 2

California law specifies that workers get double time for any hours worked over 12 in a day. A day is 24 hours beginning and ending at a similar time each day of the week. A day can start at noon and end at noon the next day, or it might begin at midnight and ending at midnight the following day. It is all good as long as it is regular.

A workday is a continuous 24-hour period beginning at the same time each calendar day, but it may start at any time of day. The start of an employee’s workday need not coincide with the start of that employee’s shift, and a company may establish varying workdays for various shifts. However, once a workday is set it may be modified only if the change is meant to be stable and the difference is not intended to evade overtime obligations.” – Dir.Ca

The loophole here is in the selection of the time the “workday” starts and ends and when the worker works.

If a nurse’s regular schedule, for instance, is from 6 am to 8 pm, her shift would be 14 hours. If the day starts at 12 am, then all of that time is worked in each workday; and she would be receiving 2 hours of double time. But if alternatively to her day begins at noon and ends at noon the other day; then 6 hours of her shift would be in one day and 8 hours in the next day. In such a case, she not only loses double time, but she loses any overtime either.

Now, if she followed that schedule three days consecutively, she would get the overtime & double time when her next shift started. But if she only followed a few, not consecutive days each week, she could contrive to work those long 14 hours shifts with no double-time compensation.

If she did not know what her “workday” was, as described by her company, this could be very confusing for her, and she might think she is getting shorted her double time when, in fact, she is not.

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