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California Caregivers - Attorney Discusses Whether You Qualify for Overtime

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Woodland Hills,Under California law, most caregivers must be paid overtime when working 24-hours shifts. Judging from the number of inquiries to LawyersandSettlements from home care attendants, this law is confusing.

Gyongyi, a caregiver in Los Angeles, wants to know how much overtime she is entitled during a 24-hour shift. “I have a live-in job and have to sleep there. But I have less than eight hours of sleep without interruption because I have to turn my patient every two hours, night and day,” she says. “I’m exhausted and my employer says I don’t get overtime because I work in a private home, and he says I don’t get paid for meal breaks. Thank you in advance for your advice.”

With the increase in California’s minimum wage to $10 an hour on January 1, 2016, that means a 24-hour caregiver must be paid $315 a day to comply with the current law. But there are many exceptions and the California labor law is not always black and white. Neither meal breaks are required nor does this labor code apply if you are a close family member (such as the child) caring for the patient. But there are exceptions to this rule.

“If an agency is your employer and you are providing 24 hour care then yes, you are entitled to overtime protection,” says Daniel Chaleff, Employment Law Attorney of Chaleff Rehwald. “Under California law caregivers (and other workers) must be paid for all hours worked. If you work as a live-in senior caregiver, are required to turn your patient every 2 hours and are not allowed to leave the person cared for alone at any time, you are working 24 hours a day.”

Under Labor Code 1454, you must receive overtime when working more than nine hours a day or 45 hours a week. “At a minimum, you would be entitled to $315 a day, calculated as follows: 9 hours of pay at minimum wage of $10/hr, 15 hours of pay at the overtime rate of $15/hr,” explains Chaleff. “I believe that many caregivers who are employed privately or directly by the person they are caring for are paid less, such as $150 for 24-hour care. If you are required to sleep on the premises and available to give care you are working 24 hours. Many caregivers don’t sleep through the night because they have to help with the bathroom, get drinks of water, or reposition a patient to avoid pressure sores.”

Typically, caregivers are paid a day rate or monthly salary, neither of which compensates for overtime hours worked. Instead, it results in a substantial overtime claim for the caregiver. But how can a caregiver making about $150 per day afford to hire an attorney and file a California overtime lawsuit?

“Our legislature has made these caregiver overtime cases attractive to attorneys by providing for attorney fees, penalties, and liquidated damages,” says Chaleff. He suggests you find an experienced caregiver attorney by doing an online search: Visit your local Bar Association and check out the lawyer referral services. As well, Chaleff and other employment attorneys have Facebook pages whereby they educate workers on their rights and let them know about laws that protect caregivers.

In Gyongyi’s case, she can file a claim but likely won’t get paid that $315 daily rate. As a caregiver you have the right to file a claim, but that doesn’t mean you will prevail in court. So most importantly, search for an attorney such as Chaleff who works for a contingency fee.

READ ABOUT CALIFORNIA OVERTIME LAWSUITS

California Overtime Legal Help

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to an employment law lawyer who may evaluate your California Overtime claim at no cost or obligation.

READER COMMENTS

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I have a question about the California live in care giver laws. I live in the home and am not family and I work or am available 24 hours a day, which I work most of them quite often. I do have my own room in the home but have no down time or away time off. I provide all services every day...cook, clean, administrator medicine, change bedding, clean potty chairs, laundry, pick up prescriptions, do the grocery shopping, help getting in and out of bed, toilet or chair, bathing, dressing..you name it I do it. Oh and did I mention their are two of them I care for. One of which currently has a broken ankle and weighs about 400lbs so needs extra help with everything. One is completely incontinence and has to wear adult diapers and help with cleaning up after using the bathroom and the other well on their way as well. I get paid $500.00 a month for to take care of them both 24/7 without any days off or time to barely take a shower use the bathroom let alone 8 full hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. All the while the family acts as tho they are doing me the favor because I live in the home rent free. I am wondering are they? They pay me in cash and I am getting worried about what I will do later in life when I have nothing to help myself financially because u have not been paying in.

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