Alternative workweek schedule and overtime

Under California law (California labor code section 501), an employer can authorize alternative workweeks of workdays exceeding eight hours without overtime pay if specified criteria are met. Such flexible scheduling requires full disclosure to affected employees and the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the employees in the affected workplace voting in a secret ballot election before performance of the week.

Any type of alternative schedule that is authorized by Cal. labor code section 501 may be repealed by the affected employees. An employer shall not reduce an employee’s regular rate of hourly pay as a result of the adoption repeal or nullification of an alternative week schedule.

However, the employer must pay overtime at one-and-a-half times the regular rate after 10 hours per day in a 40 hour workweek, and a double the regular rate after 12 hour per days and for any work in excess of eight hours on those days worked beyond the regularly scheduled alternative workweek days.

Thus, if, for example, the alternative workweek is 3 12-hour workdays per week, the employees on that schedule must be paid overtime at 150% of their regular rate for the two hours per day, exceeding the ten-hour limit on each workday.