Employer Authorization for Working Overtime

In California, if an employee works overtime without his/her employer’s authorization, does the employer still have to pay for it?

Yes. In California overtime law, employers must pay overtime to their employees whether or not the overtime was authorized. The rate for overtime is one and one-half times the employee’s regular pay rate when an employee works over 8 hours in a day. When an employee works on the seventh consecutive day, they must receive one and one-half times their normal pay rate for the first 8 hours of work. When an employee works over 12 hours in one day, an employer must pay double the employee’s regular rate of pay. Also, when an employee works over 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day of a workweek, an employer must pay double the normal rate.

An employer may discipline his/her employees if they violate the employer’s policy of working overtime without the employer’s permission. However, in California overtime law, employees must be paid for hours he or she “suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.” The phrase, “suffer or permit” refers to work that an employer knew about or should have known about. An employee can’t purposely prevent an employer from knowing about unauthorized overtime that he or she worked, and file an overtime wage claim in California. All employers must be given the opportunity to follow the law.


Jane has been so busy at work that she has had to work more than her normal 8 hours per day. Jane’s employer did not give Jane permission to work overtime because he has been out of town. Whether or not Jane’s employer knows that Jane has worked overtime, Jane is still entitled to overtime pay. Jane worked 10 hours on Monday and Tuesday, and 14 hours on Wednesday. Jane is entitled to one and one-half times her normal pay rate for any time she worked over 8 hours in one day. Jane’s normal hourly rate is $20/hour. For Monday and Tuesday, Jane is entitled to 4 hours overtime at $30/hour. For Wednesday, Jane is entitled to 4 hours at time and ½, and 2 hours of double pay, because if an employee works over 12 hours in one day, they are entitled to double their rate of pay. If Jane’s employer refuses to pay Jane for her earned overtime, she may file an overtime wage claim in California.

If you have a question about California overtime law or want to file an overtime wage claim, contact Strauss & Strauss APC now.

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