There are three shifts in the nursing home. The morning shift from 7 am-3:30 pm; the afternoon shift from 3 pm-11:30 pm; and the night shift from 11 pm-7:30 am. Andy usually works the afternoon shift but if the nursing home is short-staffed, the nurses are asked to pull a double shift. Andy will work from 3 pm until 7:30 am the next morning.
Here is the issue: Andy used to get paid double time when he worked the second shift but the nursing home recently changed hands and the new employer says they don’t legally have to pay double time after midnight because it counts as a separate day.
“I spoke to my employer about this but he said they aren’t violating any California labor code,” says Andy. “I’ve been working as a charge nurse at this home for five years and the overtime problems began six months ago. I kept track of the days I work double shifts and I believe my employer owes me a substantial amount of overtime pay.”
Is Andy’s employer violating California overtime laws?
Attorney David Yeremian, David Yeremian & Associates, Inc., believes the nursing home is not in compliance with the law. “An employer can designate a 24-hour period as the workday, which is typically from 12:01 am to 11:59 pm, so every midnight is a new workday,” says Yeremian. “This means that every 24-hour period is considered a workday and anytime after 8 hours is considered overtime.”
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“If Andy starts work at 3 pm Monday, finishes the double shift at 7 am Tuesday morning and then gets a day off, his employer might be in compliance, but my instinct tells me that the employer is violating the California overtime laws,” says Yeremian. “We have a lot of cases where the employer has to pay overtime to employees who work split shifts, such as an employee working 6 hours, going home for a few hours and coming back the same day for another 6 hours. I will have to do some research on Andy’s issue.”
Stay tuned. David Yeremian will soon have an answer for Andy.