California Labor Code § 510 is the state’s overtime pay law that entitles non-exempt employees to one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay for working more than 8 hours in a workday or more than 40 hours in a workweek or more than 6 consecutive days in a workweek. And non-exempt employees get double-time pay for working more than 12 hours in a workday or more than 8 hours on the seventh consecutive day in a workweek.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
510. (a) Eight hours of labor constitutes a day’s work. Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday and any work in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek and the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and one–half times the regular rate of pay for an employee. Any work in excess of 12 hours in one day shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay for an employee. In addition, any work in excess of eight hours on any seventh day of a workweek shall be compensated at the rate of no less than twice the regular rate of pay of an employee. Nothing in this section requires an employer to combine more than one rate of overtime compensation in order to calculate the amount to be paid to an employee for any hour of overtime work. The requirements of this section do not apply to the payment of overtime compensation to an employee working pursuant to any of the following:
(1) An alternative workweek schedule adopted pursuant to Section 511.
(2) An alternative workweek schedule adopted pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement pursuant to Section 514.
(3) An alternative workweek schedule to which this chapter is inapplicable pursuant to Section 554.
(b) Time spent commuting to and from the first place at which an employee’s presence is required by the employer shall not be considered to be a part of a day’s work, when the employee commutes in a vehicle that is owned, leased, or subsidized by the employer and is used for the purpose of ridesharing, as defined in Section 522 of the Vehicle Code.
(c) This section does not affect, change, or limit an employer’s liability under the workers’ compensation law.
The purpose of California Labor Code 510 is to compensate non-exempt employees with higher pay when they put in more time than an eight-hour workday or 40-hour work week:1
Example: Molly is a receptionist with a regular rate of pay of $20 an hour. One day when the office is busy, she puts in 13 hours. Her pay will be:
- $20 an hour – the regular rate of pay – for the first eight hours.
- $30 an hour – one-and-a-half overtime pay – for hours nine through twelve.
- $40 an hour – double-time overtime pay – for the thirteenth hour.
The following work week, Molly works six eight-hour days in a row. Her pay will be:
- $20 an hour – the regular rate of pay – for the first five days (first 40 hours).
- $30 an hour – one-and-a-half overtime pay – for the sixth day (last eight hours)
California Labor Code 510 does not apply to employees with alternative workweek schedules, such as those adopted pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). A common alternative workweek schedule is four ten-hour days rather than five eight-hour days.2
Finally, California Code 510 specifies that commuting does not count towards “hours worked” when the vehicle belongs to the employer and is used for ridesharing. A common example is a company shuttle picking up employees and taking them to and from work.3
- Labor Code 510 – “Day’s work”; Hours. Advanced-Tech Security Services, Inc. v. Superior Court (Cal. App. 2d Dist., 2008), 163 Cal. App. 4th 700, 77 Cal. Rptr. 3d 757. Seymore v. Metson Marine, Inc. (Cal. App. 1st Dist., 2011), 193 Cal. App. 4th 64, 122 Cal. Rptr. 3d 236.
- Vranish v. Exxon Mobil Corp. (Cal. App. 2d Dist., 2014), 223 Cal. App. 4th 103, 166 Cal. Rptr. 3d 845. Flournoy v. Watts Healthcare Corp. (C.D. Cal. Oct. 6, 2020), 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187356. Maldonado v. Epsilon Plastics, Inc. (Cal. App. 2d Dist. Apr. 18, 2018), 232 Cal. Rptr. 3d 461, 22 Cal. App. 5th 1308.
- Rutti v. Lojack Corp. (9th Cir. Cal., 2009), 578 F.3d 1084. Morillion v. Royal Packing Co. (2000), 22 Cal. 4th 575, 94 Cal. Rptr. 2d 3, 995 P.2d 139. Alcantar v. Hobart Serv. (9th Cir., 2015), 800 F.3d 1047.