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Double Time in California vs. Overtime

Discover everything you need to know about double time vs. overtime pay
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Understanding double time law is a step towards compliance. Beyond compliance, controlling labor costs is another reason to keep an eye on double time in California. In addition, analyzing double time and overtime is critical when determining whether to hire new employees to boost productivity and operational efficiency. 

In this guide, we’ll dissect double time in California to shed light on the stipulations you must adhere to, whether on a regular or alternative workweek schedule. We’ll also compare double time vs. overtime to help you make informed strategic hiring and labor expenses saving decisions.

What Is California Double Time Law?

According to the California overtime rule, non-exempt employees are entitled to double-time pay for hours worked in excess of 12 hours in a workday and hours over eight on the seventh consecutive day of the workweek. 

timeero custom overtime feature
Timeero allows you to configure custom overtime and double time rules to track employees’ extra hours of work accurately. 

There’s a slight tweak to the double-time law in an alternative workweek schedule. You’ll still have to pay employees double time for hours worked over 12 hours in a day. In addition, you must compensate employees for double overtime for hours over eight on days worked beyond the stipulated schedule. 

For example, in the 4/40 alternative workweek schedule, employees should work four straight 10-hour days a week. 

Suppose an employee works 13 hours in five days in a week. In this case, the employee is entitled to 1 hour of double time over regular hours in 4 days of the alternative workweek schedule.

In addition, they should earn double time for 5 hours worked over 8 on the fifth day of the week. In total, the employee has worked 9 hours of double time. 

Double Time vs. Overtime: The Differences

Let’s now bring the overtime law into the picture and discuss how the two differ:

When Does California Double Time and Overtime Start?

In a regular workweek schedule, double time in California starts at the end of the 12th hour in a workday and the end of the eighth hour on the seventh consecutive workday in a week. 

On the other hand, overtime starts at the end of the eighth hour up to and including 12 hours in a workday. The first 8 hours on the seventh consecutive workday in a workweek also counts as overtime.

In an alternative workweek schedule, double time still starts at the end of the 12th hour of a workday. However, the alternative workweek schedule doesn’t apply the seventh consecutive day rule. Instead, double time starts at the end of the eighth hour on workdays beyond those stipulated on the alternative workweek schedule agreement. 

On the other hand, overtime in an alternative workweek starts at the end of the 10th hour of work up to the end of the 12th hour of the workday. 

timeero mobile app
With Timeero, employees only need to clock in, and the app will compute their overtime and double time hours automatically. 

What is the Overtime and Double Time Rate in California?

Overtime and double-time rates in California differ slightly. Employees earn one and a half their regular pay rate with overtime, whereas, with double overtime, employees earn twice their pay rate. The rates apply to employees on regular and alternative workweek schedules. 

California Double Time vs. Overtime: The Similarities

The double time and overtime in California share a lot of similarities. We’ll highlight some similarities in this section, but read our California overtime guide for the in-depth details.  

Employee Eligibility

The double time and overtime law covers non-exempt employees in California. In other words, both laws apply to employees not covered by the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders

Besides qualifying as non-exempt, the employee must be at least 18 years of age or a minor (16 or 17 years) who’s not prohibited to work or isn’t required by state or federal law to attend school. 

Who Is Exempted from California’s Overtime and Double Time Requirements?

Still, the California overtime law does not cover all employees who meet the abovementioned provisions. Specific groups of employees are exempted from the double time and overtime law. 

Some notable exemptions include employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement and:

  • Professional actors
  • Taxicab drivers
  • Motion picture employees
  • Outside salespersons
  • Executive, administrative, and professional employees
  • Some airline employees

Moreover, some employees are exceptions, meaning they are entitled to double time and overtime pay, but the terms may differ from the California overtime law. They include employees subject to alternative workweek schedules and those in the healthcare, irrigation, non-profit organizations, and home care industries. 

In addition, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has overtime protection for specific groups of employees, such as firefighters, paramedics, and police officers. Moreover, the act covers other group employees who would otherwise be exempted but work long extra hours, such as paralegals and practical nurses. 

Calculating Double Time vs. Overtime Pay

When it comes to the calculation of double time and overtime pay rates, first compute the employee’s regular rate of pay. To that end, there are based on the employee’s job classification:

Hourly Employees

For hourly employees, their regular rate of pay is equivalent to the regular hourly rate. Take the example of Ken, a construction worker earning $20 per hour on a regular workweek schedule. 

To fulfill a roofing deadline, Ken works seven straight 13-hour workdays.

Assuming Ken’s workweek starts on Monday, he’s entitled to 4 hours of overtime and 1 hour of double time each day from Monday to Saturday. Plus, eight overtime hours and five double-time hours on Sunday. Ken works 32 hours of overtime and 11 hours double time. 

Ken will earn (1.5*$20*32) overtime and (2*$20*11) double time, or $960 for overtime and $440 for double time work.

Remember, the computation will differ for employees on an alternative workweek schedule. 

timeero time report
Timeero is your automatic overtime calculator; it multiplies employees' hourly wage rate by the total number of hours to compute their overtime pay.

Employees Paid by Commission or Piece

Similarly, if you pay employees by commission, you can use their rate as the regular rate of pay. Alternatively, divide an employee’s earnings by total work hours (including overtime and double time) to get their regular rate of pay. 

If you pay employees by piece, the regular pay rate is equivalent to their group rate. To get the group rate, divide the cost of producing the pieces by the number of employees multiplied by their total hours. 


For example, if you have ten employees producing 500 parts per 50-hour week at the rate of $75 per part, here’s how you compute their group rate: 

((1000*$75)/ (50*10)) = $75

Employees with Multiple Rates

If an employee has multiple pay rates, their regular pay rate is the weighted average, equivalent to their weekly salary divided by total work hours. If an employee works 20 hours at $25 per hour and 30 hours at $35 per hour, the weighted average equals:

((20*$25) + (30*35))/50 = $31

Salaried Employees

For salaried employees, divide their annual salary by (52 weeks times 40 hours) to find the regular rate of pay. For example, if an employee earns $37,000 per year, then their regular rate of pay equals:

$37,000/(52*40) = $17.79

Note: According to the California Overtime law, an employee’s regular pay rate cannot be less than their minimum wage. 

Double Time and Overtime Wage Payment 

Once you find employees’ regular rate of pay, the next step is to compute their earnings, assuming you’ve tracked their time. 

In the next section, we’ll show you how Timeero tracks time — including double time and overtime accurately. Before that, let’s address some critical issues around overtime payment.

employee wage rate
Timeero uses the set regular wage rate to compute overtime automatically and double-time pay.

When Should I Pay Double Time and Overtime?

California overtime law states that you should compensate employees for overtime and double time on or before the payday for their next regular payroll period. If you pay employees weekly, biweekly, or semimonthly, you can delay the payment to the next payday. 

Delaying overtime payments past the legal timeframes amounts to a late payment and is subject to a fine. The initial late payment attracts a $100 penalty for each employee not paid on time. 

Each subsequent violation attracts a $200 fine and $25 interest on the wages unlawfully withheld. 

Do I Have To Compensate Employees for Unauthorized Overtime and Double Time?

Yes, the California overtime law requires employers to compensate employees for double time, whether they authorized it or not. If you knew or should have known about employee’s double-time activities or the work they did during that time benefited your company, then you have no choice but to compensate them. 

However, the law permits you to discipline employees for working overtime against an existing company’s overtime and double-time policy.

Can You Waive Double Time and Overtime?

No, you cannot waive an employee’s double-time pay or encourage or coerce them to accept a lesser wage. The California labor code requires you to compensate all employees accurately for double time and overtime work, notwithstanding any “waiver” agreement.  

If you have a “waive” agreement, and employees decide to recover the amount you didn’t pay, nothing will stop them. In such cases, the California Employment Law will be on their side, and you’ll pay them the difference between the amount paid and the total overtime pay they were entitled to receive. 

Timeero for Automatic California Overtime Implementation

Understanding overtime and double time laws in the State of California is one thing; implementing them to the tee is another. Remember that it’s your duty to maintain accurate time records showing each employee’s work hours, overtime, and double-time hours.

The complexity that goes with overtime and double-time calculation requires a reliable time-tracking tool for full compliance. Thankfully, Timeero offers bespoke tools for California employers. 

You can read our Timeero review to understand better how the tools work, but if you’re short on time, here are the features that come in handy for California businesses:  

California Overtime Tools

Other time trackers require manual configuration to track time following the California overtime law. We’ve built Timeero differently, though. The Timeero’s California overtime feature cuts out the manual configurations.

Timeero California overtime rules
Timeero’s California overtime features let you tap a single button to implement the state law. 

You only need to select “use California overtime rule” under the payroll and overtime settings. Timeero automatically calculates overtime and double time; you don’t have to lift a finger.

Fret not if you’re computing double time and overtime on an alternative workweek schedule. 

With Timeero’s “custom overtime rules,” it’s a cinch to set the double time and overtime threshold to match your specific schedule.  

Timeero doesn’t stop at calculating overtime and double-time hours. When you set the employee’s regular hourly rate, Timeero automatically calculates double time and overtime earnings. When the payday rolls around, you’ll only need to forward the approved payroll report to the finance department for remuneration. 

California Break Tracker

Even as you track overtime and double time, keep an eye on rest and meal breaks, bearing in mind that any violation could lead to hefty premium pay. Thankfully, with Timeero’s California break tracker, you don’t have to track breaks manually. It automates break tracking, so you don’t have to grapple with the California break tracking mistakes

The tool prevents employees from ending their meal break before the required 30-minute period elapses. If an employee tries to end the meal break early, they will get the message, “You cannot end your break early. Wait till the minimum break time is exceeded before ending your break.”

timeero break tracker
With the California break tracker, employees can’t end their meal break early. 

Beyond that, Timeero offers a daily sign-off form for California employees. When an employee works more than 3.5 hours and tries to clock out, Timeero won’t let them until they sign the daily sign-off form. 

The form requires employees to confirm that they used or waived their break per the California break law. It’s proof that you allowed employees to have their break in compliance with the meal break policy and didn’t dictate what they could do during that period. 

 timeero daily sign-off form
Timeero requires all employees in California, whether full-time or independent contractors, to sign the daily sign-off form before clocking out.

GPS-Enabled Time Tracker

Lastly, we’ve created an easy-to-use time tracker with facial recognition and geofencing features, to boot. Clocking in is as easy as selecting a job and hitting “clock in.” The app also uses other techniques to ensure accurate time tracking. 

Thanks to geofencing, it sends employees notifications when they arrive at the job site, prompting them to clock in. Plus, if an employee tries to clock in or out outside their designated worksite, it lets them punch in or out but flags their time entry. It also supports facial recognition on the kiosk app to thwart buddy punching.  

Compensate Employee Accurately

There are two stages to achieving accuracy and compliance regarding double time and overtime compensation. First, read and interpret the California overtime law correctly. If you have doubts about anything, seek the help of a California attorney with experience in federal and state labor laws. 

Second, create and implement policies that drive you toward compliance. Ideally, build these policies around a reliable time-tracking app like Timeero. The app provides time-tracking tools customized for California businesses. Start a 14-day free trial today to use tools such as California overtime feature and break tracker, risk-free. 

Overtime vs. Double Time California FAQs

Does California Have Double Time Pay?

Yes, California has a double time law, which requires employers to compensate employees twice their regular rate of pay. 

What Is the Difference Between Overtime and Double Time?

The difference between double time and overtime is that with the latter, employees earn one and a half times their normal rate of pay, whereas, with the former, they get twice the regular rate of pay. 


Is 12 Hours Double Time in California?

No, double time begins at the end of the 12th hour of a workday. 

How Do You Calculate Double Time in CA?

To calculate double time in California, you multiply double time hours by twice the employee’s regular rate of pay. Double time = (2 * employee regular rate of pay * double time hours). 

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