The employment contract that I signed specified that I work a maximum of 20 hours a week. For the past two years I've been scheduled more that, around 24-40 hours a week. Does this entitle me to additional compensation, such as overtime?

  • You're only asking this after two years? Have you up until now only been paid for 20 hrs/week? Have there been any additional (paid) leave or recuperation time?
    – Flater
    May 24 '19 at 12:03
  • If your contract states that you will be paid for 20 hours of work, at max, why would you work more? Do you get paid hourly or salary? It seems like it is on you volunteered your time willingly.
    – Pete B.
    May 24 '19 at 14:52
  • By "additional", do you mean "more than I the agreed upon amount for working 20 hours", or do you mean "More than the agreed upon hourly rate time multiplied by the number of hours worked"? May 25 '19 at 20:04

I've been scheduled more that, around 24-40 hours a week. Does this entitle me to additional compensation, such as overtime?

Yes. Section 1194 of the California Labor Code provides that:

Notwithstanding any agreement to work for a lesser wage, any employee receiving less than the legal minimum wage or the legal overtime compensation applicable to the employee is entitled to recover in a civil action the unpaid balance of the full amount of this minimum wage or overtime compensation, including interest thereon, reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs of suit.

The contractual maximum of 20 weekly hours is stricken/superseded every time (1) your employer schedules you in excess of 20 hours in a week and (2) you accept it. Thus, you could pursue the recovery of unpaid wages under two legal theories. One of them is the aforementioned statute, since your implied contract --pertaining to the excess of 20 weekly hours-- constitutes an agreement to work for a lesser wage than the legal minimum wage.

The other theory or claim under which you may proceed is breach of contract. Again, this refers to the implied agreements regarding any unpaid wages in excess of 20 weekly hours. Under this theory you would recover just the full wages (rather than only the minimum wage), whereas the statutory provision entitles you to reasonable attorney's fees.

You might want to get some acquaintance with the California Labor Code, since it describes how to proceed and might also touch on other issues which might be applicable to your situation (and not mentioned in your post).

If your matter is filed in court, there is always a chance that your case might be presided by some sick judge telling you in court that "The state loves insurance companies and it employers [...] and you have to [...] stay out of the way". But contract law and section 1194 of the Labor Code encompass what the law is in regard to your matter.

Edited to add (per A.fm.'s remark)

In case you are being paid for all the hours you work and your concern is only whether/when should your hourly wage be higher than the regular rate, the answer depends on whether your schedule meets any of the conditions listed in Section 510(a):

  • any work in excess of eight hours in one workday;
  • any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek (you mention having worked around 24-40, which suggests but is not conclusive that the threshold of 40 hours is not exceeded);
  • the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek;
  • any work in excess of 12 hours in one day (entitling to twice the regular rate of pay);
  • any work in excess of eight hours on any seventh day of a workweek (entitling to twice the regular rate of pay).
  • 1
    Unfortunately, there is currently no way to determine if this answer is correct. OP did not state his salary or hourly wage, so you do not know whether the extra 4-20 hours per week he worked would lead to him being paying less than the minimum wage. OP did not say he wasn't paid in full for his hours worked - he asked whether being scheduled for more hours than his contract stated would entitle him to "additional compensation, such as overtime?" We would need to know whether he was not paid in full for the extra hours - absent that, he's entitled to no overtime.
    – A.fm.
    May 27 '19 at 7:06
  • @A.fm. Thanks. I see I was missing the key word "additional" in the OP's question, so I'm editing to add the CA statute that essentially defines overtime. But, unless the contract establishes so, it would be mistaken to purport that any excess over minimum wage pursuant to the signed contract (the one with a "maximum of 20 hours a week") is understood to compensate for the wage deficit or non-payment pursuant to the extra schedules. May 27 '19 at 12:36
  • Viggers, that is an interesting point. I definitely don't think any wage above minimum wage would be able to compensate for non-payment. However, I'm not sure that a wage above minimum wage would not count toward a wage deficit calculation. Are you suggesting that if he was to be paid $30 an hour for 20 hours max per week (under that contract), but because he worked 30 hours in a given week, it would be considered that he worked 20 hours at $30/hour and 10 hours for $15/hour (min wage)? Or am I misunderstanding your point in your last sentence?
    – A.fm.
    May 28 '19 at 6:41
  • @A.fm. Yes, that is what I mean. The wage of $30/hour stays the same for the first 20 hours regardless of whether the OP works additional hours. As for the excess over 20 hours, Section 1194 guarantees at least the minimum wage (or 1.5-2 times the regular rate if the OP's extended schedule meet(s) any condition in Section 510). I am not aware of case law deciding an issue resembling this one, but a ruling in the contrary would make no sense and lead to the irony of lowering the OP's average wages precisely when he works the most, thereby contravening the intent (or tendency) of Section 510. May 28 '19 at 13:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.