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Overtime Still Applies when Employees Work from Home


The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the business landscape. As workplaces nationwide were forced to close amid government-mandated lockdowns, those that could went on to implement temporary work-from-home accommodations for employees who could feasibly do their jobs at home. It was a matter of survival: Doing so meant the difference between shutting down entirely, or maintaining business continuity – even if things felt a little rickety without everyone in one location.

For many companies, though, the shakiness of running virtual workplaces quickly wore off. Some businesses discovered they could even thrive despite no one setting foot in the office or meeting face-to-face for months. As the world – and California, specifically – begins to emerge from the pandemic a year later, it looks like a lot of remote work will be here to stay.

So, what does that mean for non-exempt, hourly employees who are used to working on the clock? When it comes to overtime, not much because there is no fundamental difference about working for wages at home versus doing so at the office.

Earning Overtime While Working Remotely

Whether or not an employee is working from home has no bearing on their ability to earn overtime if they are a non-exempt employee. Employers, however, may take advantage of employees’ time and demand more from them without proper compensation.

Working from home can sometimes blur the line between someone’s work life and home life. Employers may try to take advantage of this blurred line by expecting employees to handle phone calls, emails, and tasks on-demand and at all times. While there is nothing inherently unlawful with this expectation, that can change if the employer fails to account for overtime hours.

How Is Overtime Pay Earned in California?

In California, non-exempt employees start accruing overtime hours for time exceeding eight hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime pay is calculated at 1.5 times the employee’s usual rate (time and a half) up to 12 hours per workday and for the first eight hours on a seventh consecutive workday in a single workweek. Employees earn double their usual pay rates (double time) for hours worked in excess of 12 per workday or eight on the seventh consecutive workday in a single workweek.

Is Your Employer Not Paying You Fairly?

If you’re a non-exempt employee and your employer has failed to properly compensate you for overtime hours you worked, we at K2 Employment Law Group can help you recover what you’re owed.

When more employers than ever before are working from home, employers may try to abuse their right to earn overtime. This right doesn’t change whether an employee is working at the employer’s provided worksite or remotely. If your boss is making you work more hours and not paying you the overtime you’re owed, we can help.

Get in touch with K2 Employment Law Group today by contacting us online or by calling (800) 590-7674.