Many California employees work a 40-hour workweek: 8 hours a day for 5 days a week. There is a movement to reduce the regular workweek with some governments and companies considering four workdays per week while others are looking at reducing the total number of hours worked per week.
Several countries have experimented with the four-day workweek in different formats. In Belgium, workers have the choice to work their regular weekly hours in four days a week instead of five, allowing three-day weekends. Iceland conducted a study in which workers’ weekly hours were reduced to 36 hours. The study’s success caused most of the employees in the country to work reduced weekly hours. Various other countries and big corporations are also testing modified workweeks.
Even in the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives floated a bill – H.R. 4728 – considering the adoption of a 32-hour workweek. In California, lawmakers debated AB 2932, a bill to impose a 32-hour workweek for employers with 500 or more employees.
Researchers say there are many benefits of the shorter workweek including more scheduling flexibility, better work-life balance, and increased worker satisfaction and productivity. In addition to those potential benefits, a change in the workweek will have to come with changes in the laws that apply to overtime.
It’s always useful to review the overtime rules that apply in California. Most workers are paid on an hourly basis and must be paid overtime unless an exception applies. For those workers, several overtime rules apply:
Hours worked over 8 in a day must be paid at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay.
Hours worked over 12 in a day must be paid at 2 times the regular rate of pay.
Hours worked for 40 in a week must be paid at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay.
If You Work 7 Consecutive Days in a Workweek:
The first 8 hours worked on the seventh day must be paid at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay.
Hours after 8 worked on the seventh day must be paid at 2 times the regular rate of pay.
Adopting a different workweek may require a change to these overtime rules.
While we don’t know if our lawmakers will adopt a different workweek in the future, you should know the overtime rules that apply to your hours worked now. Make sure you are getting paid at the correct rates for overtime. If you have concerns that your employer isn’t paying you correctly, or if you have questions about how your pay is calculated, please feel free to call our office at (626) 240-0575.
 To learn more, you can read “4 Day Work Week Benefits,” https://www.indeed.com/hire/c/info/4-day-work-week-benefits?hl=en&co=US.