California Labor Laws & 24 Hour Shifts

by Scott Simpson; Updated September 26, 2017

An employer in California is not prohibited from having employees work 24-hour shifts. However, if an employee works a 24-hour shift, there are certain required benefits he must receive, such as overtime, rest periods and meal periods.

Overtime

If an employee is required to work a 24-hour shift, she must receive overtime pay for the hours she works that exceed eight. For the first eight hours of work, the employee is required to receive her regular hourly rate. From the eighth hour up to and including the 12th hour, she must receive time and one half her hourly rate. The hours worked in a shift that exceed 12 must be compensated at double the regular hourly rate.

Meal Periods

Employees who are working 24-hour shifts must receive at least two meal periods of not less than 30 minutes every 12 hours. An employer must allow the employee to be relieved of all duties during this meal period. An employer is not required to pay the employee for the meal periods, unless the employee is required to remain on the premises.

Rest Periods

California employers must allow employees to take a 10-minute rest period during each four hours of work in a shift. Under California labor law, the rest periods are considered time worked; therefore, the employer must pay the employee for each rest period.

About the Author

Scott Simpson began writing professionally in 2000. He writes employee handbooks and manuals for the human resource consulting firm, Remote Control Payroll Co. Simpson holds a Bachelor of Science in airline management as well as a Master of Arts in business administration from the University of Massachusetts.