Last updated on: March 10th, 2023

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

An employee’s regular working hours may not exceed the legal maximum regular hours of 8 hours per workday or 40 hours per workweek.


Workday” and “day” mean any consecutive 24-hour period commencing at the same time each calendar day. 


“Workweek” and “week” mean any 7 consecutive days, starting with the same calendar day each week. “Workweek” is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours, seven consecutive 24-hour periods.


Alternative Workweek SchedulingAlternative workweek schedule means any regularly scheduled workweek requiring an employee to work more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period. An alternative workweek is a week consisting of shifts of no longer than 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek, without payment of an overtime premium.


An AWS is a variation of the standard 5-day/40-hour work schedule in which a full-time employee completes a 40-hour workweek in a compressed schedule but works more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period within the regularly scheduled workweek. employees working an alternative workweek schedule exceeding the 10-hour per day limitation are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of no less than one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for all time worked between 10 and 12 hours and at twice the regular rate of pay for any hours worked in excess of 12.


Employers are permitted to compute employee worktime by rounding “to the nearest 5 minutes, or the nearest one-tenth or quarter of an hour,” so long as the rounding system adopted by the employer “is used in such a manner that it will not result, over a period of time, in failure to compensate the employees properly for all the time they have actually worked.


On-Call Time

California minimum wage laws require employers to count time spent by employees on-call as hours worked if the employees are required to remain on the employer’s premises or so close to the premises they are unable to effectively use the time for their own purposes. Employers are not required to pay employees for on-call time if the employees are not required to remain at or near their employer’s premises and are generally free to use the time for their own purposes


Makeup Time 

If an employer approves a written request of an employee to make up work time that is or would be lost as a result of a personal obligation of the employee, the hours of that makeup work time, if performed in the same workweek in which the work time was lost, may not be counted toward computing the total number of hours worked in a day for purposes of the overtime requirements, except for hours in excess of 11 hours of work in 1 day or 40 hours of work in one workweek.


Employees who work in excess of 8 hours in a workday shall be compensated at the rate of 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. Work in excess of 12 hours in a workday shall be compensated at the rate of double the regular rate of pay. Any work in excess of 40 hours in any workweek shall be compensated at the rate of 1.5 times the regular rate of pay.


The first 8 hours of work on the 7th consecutive day of work in any workweek shall be compensated at the rate of 1.5 times the regular rate of pay, regardless of the number of hours worked during the previous six days. Every hour worked after the 8th hour on the 7th consecutive workday in any workweek is paid at double the regular rate of pay.


Rest BreakEmployers are required to provide 10-minute uninterrupted, paid rest periods to non-exempt employees for every 4 hours worked (or a major fraction thereof). A rest period is not required for employees whose total daily work time is less than 3.5 hours. The rest period is counted as time worked and therefore, the employer must pay for such periods.


Meal Break: An employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than 5 hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than 6 hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee.

An employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than 10 hours per day without providing the employee with a second meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except that if the total hours worked is no more than 12 hours, the second meal period may be waived by mutual consent of the employer and the employee only if the first meal period was not waived.


Unless the employee is relieved of all duty during his or her thirty-minute meal period, the meal period shall be considered an “on duty” meal period that is counted as hours worked which must be compensated at the employee’s regular rate of pay.


 If an employer does not provide a compliant meal or rest period, the employee in question is entitled to payment of 1 hour of wages at the employee’s regular rate of pay.  This extra hour of pay is referred to as a meal or rest period “premium.”


The California Supreme Court determined in its 2021 ruling that the practice of rounding meal periods to the nearest time increment was denounced by stating that a rebuttable assumption of liability applies to employers when time records indicate shortened, delayed, or missed meal periods by employees. For more information – click on the link.


The California Supreme Court, on May 23, 2022, in Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., P.3d (2022), issued an important wage-and-hour decision regarding the meal premiums in California. The Supreme Court unanimously held that unpaid meal and rest period premiums can form the basis of claims for wage statement violations under California Labor Code Section 226 and waiting time penalties under California Labor Code section 203. For further information – kindly access this post.

Annual Leave

There is no legal requirement in California that an employer provides its employees with either paid or unpaid vacation time. However, if an employer does have an established policy, practice, or agreement to provide paid vacation, then certain restrictions are placed on the employer as to how it fulfills its obligation to provide vacation pay. Under California law, earned vacation time is considered wages, and vacation time is earned, or vests, as labor is performed.


An employer can place a reasonable cap on vacation benefits that prevents an employee from earning vacation over a certain amount of hours. And, unless otherwise stipulated by a collective bargaining agreement, upon termination of employment all earned and unused vacation must be paid to the employee at his or her final rate of pay. In California, because paid vacation is a form of wages, it is earned as labor is performed. An employer’s vacation plan may provide for the earning of vacation benefits on a day-by-day, by the week, by the pay period, or some other period basis.

Minimum Wage

Effective Jan. 1, 2023, the state’s hourly minimum is $15.50.

The above information on minimum wages might not be up to date & subject to change. Kindly access the DOL website for the current rates.

Special Leave

Paid Sick Leave

Public and private employers are covered by California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. Employees, including part-time, per diem, and temporary employees, are eligible for paid sick leave if they work in California for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year after beginning employment. Employees accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees who are exempt from overtime requirements accrue paid sick leave based on a 40-hour workweek. New employees can use accrued paid sick leave beginning on their 90th day of employment. Employees can determine how much paid sick leave they need to use, but employers can set reasonable minimum increments (up to two hours) for using this leave. Employers are not required to allow employees to accrue more than 48 hours or six days of total paid sick leave if their right to accrue and use this leave is not unlawfully limited.


Effective January 1, 2023, employees would be allowed to take time off to care for a “designated person” under the existing family rights law and paid sick leave law. In accordance with the amendment, an eligible employee will also be able to use leave to take care of a “designated person.”  A designated person is defined  as “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Employees are authorized to limit an employee to one “designated person” per 12-month period. 


Domestic Violence Leave

Public and private employers are covered by California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act, are required to provide employees with paid sick days for the following purposes:


  • Diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition of, or preventive care for, an employee or an employee’s family member.
  • For an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
California Military Spousal Leave

California law requires that employees who work an average of at least 20 hours per week may take up to ten days of unpaid leave while their spouse is on leave from military deployment. To be eligible for this leave, the employee’s spouse must be a member of the Armed Forces of the United States (including National Guard or Reserves) on leave from deployment during a period of military conflict in an area designated as a combat theater or combat zone. Under California law, “spouse” is defined to include a registered domestic partner.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

All employers must provide a leave of up to four months, as needed, for the period(s) of time an employee is actually disabled because of pregnancy, even if an employer has a policy or practice that provides less than four months of leave for other similarly situated, temporarily disabled employees. Pregnancy disability leave does not need to be taken in one continuous period of time.  Employees are eligible for up to four months of leave per pregnancy, not per year.


For employees who work more or less than 40 hours per week, or who work on variable work schedules, the number of working days that constitutes four months is calculated on a pro-rata or proportional basis. If a holiday falls within a week taken as pregnancy disability leave, the week is nevertheless counted as a week of pregnancy disability leave.


Pursuant to Labor Code Section 1030 every employer, including the state and any political subdivision, must provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee.

Family and Medical Leave

Employers with 5 or more employees within a 75-mile radius are required to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to new parents for the purpose of bonding with a newborn child. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12-month period in order to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. The purpose of the leave is to allow an employee time to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.


Also as per the amendment, qualified employees will be entitled to take leave to care for the serious health condition of a grandparent, grandchild, or sibling in addition to the current requirement covering an employee’s parent, child, spouse, or domestic partner.


Each eligible parent is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a qualifying reason.

Medical Leave

Employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. This applies when you care for a parent, spouse, or child who is seriously ill or own illness.

Bereavement Leave

California employers with 5 or more employees will be required to provide up to 5 days of protected bereavement leave to employees for the death of a family member, including a domestic partner or extended family member.


Eligibility and Requirement – An employee is eligible for bereavement leave once they have been employed for at least 30 days prior to the commencement of leave. A qualifying family member includes a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law.


The 5 days’ leave can be taken consecutively or separately within 3 months of the family member’s date of death.


Documentation – The employer may request the employee to provide documentation of the death of the family member including a death certificate, published obituary, or written verification of death, burial, or memorial services from a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, crematorium, religious institution, or governmental agency within 30 days from the first day of the leave.


Unpaid Leave
Employees may be eligible to take unpaid, job-protected, leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Please refer to the main United States page for further details on this Federal law.
Civil Air Patrol Leave
California employers with more than 15 employees must provide employees with up to 10 days of leave per year for Civil Air Patrol duty.
Volunteer Civil Service Leave
All employers must provide leaves of absence for employees who are required to perform emergency duty. You are not required to compensate the employee during this time off. An employee who is denied volunteer civil service leave is entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits. Refusing to provide the leave as required by law is a misdemeanor. The amount of time an employee can use for volunteer civil service leave is unlimited.
Victim of Crime Leave
Any employee who is a victim of the specified felonies crime, or who is an immediate family member, registered domestic partner, or the child of a registered domestic partner who is a victim of these felonies, will be eligible for leave when the employee notifies the company, as soon as practicable, of the need for leave under this policy. Employees may use accrued, unused paid time off (including [vacation/paid time off]) for leave taken under this policy. The notice and eligibility requirements for any such paid time off (PTO) will generally apply to an employee’s request for use of PTO under this policy.
Literacy Education Leave
Every private employer regularly employing 25 or more employees shall reasonably accommodate and assist any employee who reveals a problem of illiteracy and requests employer assistance in enrolling in an adult literacy education program, provided that this reasonable accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the employer.
School Visitation Leave

An employer who employs 25 or more employees working at the same location shall not discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee who is a parent of one or more children of the age to attend kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, or a licensed child care provider, for taking off up to 40 hours each year, for the purpose of either of the following child-related activities:

      • To find, enroll, or re-enroll his or her child in a school or with a licensed child care provider, or to participate in activities of the school or licensed child care provider of his or her child, if the employee, prior to taking the time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer of the planned absence of the employee. Time off pursuant to this subparagraph shall not exceed 8 hours in any calendar month of the year.
      • To address a child care provider or school emergency, if the employee gives notice to the employer.
The employee shall utilize existing vacation, personal leave, or compensatory time off for purposes of the planned absence, unless otherwise provided by a collective bargaining agreement entered into before January 1, 1995, and in effect on that date. An employee also may utilize time off without pay for this purpose, to the extent made available by his or her employer.
Organ & Blood Donation Leave
An employer is required to grant a leave of absence to an employee who is an organ donor or a bone marrow donor. The leave of absence for an organ donor is up to 30 days in a one-year period. Effective 2020, an employer must provide an additional 30 days of unpaid leave in a 1 year period. The leave of absence for a bone marrow donor is up to 5 days in a one-year period. The leave of absence for either donor is not a break in his or her continuous service for the purpose of his or her right to salary adjustments, sick leave, vacation, annual leave, or seniority.

An employee is required to provide written verification to the employer that the employee is an organ or bone marrow donor and that there is a medical requirement for the donation of the organ or bone marrow.