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Can California workers "waive" their overtime rights?

One of the many benefits of living and working in the state of California is stringent state laws regarding workers' rights. Laws regarding overtime in particular help workers who might otherwise be worked excessively by their employers without adequate compensation. A Los Angeles worker who has been forced to work unpaid overtime, or who has been told by their employer that they have "waived" their overtime rights, can seek valuable advice from a wage and hour dispute attorney.

Under California law, an employee cannot waive his or her right to overtime pay. Such a waiver, if signed, would ultimately not prevent a worker from recovering their past due overtime wages should they seek to enforce their rights in court. If a worker has been encouraged to sign such a waiver by their employer, that worker may benefit from obtaining legal advice from a qualified lawyer. It can be very intimidating when an employer asks a worker to sign something that might be either illegal or invalid, but legal help is available to those who seek it.

In California, employers are required by law to pay nonexempt employees one-and-a-half times those workers' regular rate of pay for overtime. Overtime is generally considered hours worked in excess of forty per week. Employers are also required to compensate workers at double their regular rate of pay for more than 12 hours worked in a day and for over eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of working during a workweek.

While calculating overtime pay may be simple, there are unfortunately many wage and hour violations committed by California employers. As a result, unpaid overtime or underpaid overtime is a serious problem for local workers trying to get by while their employers disobey the law. Consulting with a legal professional can help employees affected by unpaid overtime and wage and hour issues.

Source: California Department of Industrial Relations, "Overtime," accessed Feb. 20, 2016

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