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Can your employer tell you to take time off instead of overtime?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | Wage And Hour Issues

If you work late or have to come in for an extra day, your employer might just tell you they’ll make it up to you by giving you the equivalent amount of time off. It can be useful, especially if you can choose when you take it. It might allow you to get away early the day your daughter has a concert at school or permit you to add a Friday to your weekend trip away.

However, you could be disadvantaged if you just accept it without understanding your legal entitlements. Employers can tell you to take time off in lieu, but they have to do it correctly.

Time off in lieu applies at the same ratio as overtime pay

Overtime rules in California apply to a large proportion of employers and employees. You can get help to check whether you qualify, but assuming you do, here is how things should work:

You get one and a half hours off, or one and a half times your usual hourly rate, per extra hour worked over eight hours in a day or for the first eight hours worked on a seventh consecutive day.

That rises to two hours off, or twice your usual hourly rate, per extra hour worked for any hours beyond the twelfth hour in one day.

If you think your employer has been underpaying you for overtime or time off in lieu, it’s best to talk to them about it first. If that does not yield results, you may need to investigate your legal options.