What are the Split-Shift Laws in CA?

Wage & Hour Laws July 29th, 2023
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If you are working a split-shift, you may be entitled to receive a split shift premium under California employment laws. Unfortunately, not all employers are paying this premium to eligible employees. Many workers who don’t get the split shift premium they deserve may benefit from speaking with an employment lawyer.


California Employment Lawyer Describes Split Shift Laws in California

What is a split shift?

A split shift is a work schedule in which your paid work day is split into two parts with a period of unpaid free time in between. The unpaid period between the two paid shifts must be:

  • Longer than a meal break
  • For the employer’s benefit, not at the workers’ request out of personal convenience

To qualify as a split shift, the two paid shifts must be within the same workday. For example, a restaurant worker might work from 10 am to 1 pm before leaving for an unpaid break and then return to work the dinner shift at 5 pm.


Does volunteering for an extra shift qualify as a split shift?

No, only shifts scheduled by the employer qualify as split shifts. The purpose of the split-shift laws is to prevent employers from scheduling split-shifts that are not voluntary.


What is a split shift premium?

A split shift premium is one hour of pay at the state minimum wage, which was $15.50 per hour in California in 2023, or the local minimum wage – whichever is greater.


It is up to the employer to keep track of split-shift payments

According to California employment law, the employer is responsible for maintaining payroll records and accurate records of hours worked.

The split shift payment must be listed as a separate item on the paystub
Employers must list the split shift payment separately on the paystub. It should not appear on the paystub as wages, bonuses, or other categories.


Calculating the split-shift premium

The split-shift premium basically gives the worker an extra hour of pay at minimum wage.

The premium is based on how much the person would have earned at minimum wage, which is $15.50 per hour in California in 2023. If someone works 6 consecutive hours a day at minimum wage, for example, they would earn $93 that day. If that worker works a split shift, such as from 9 to noon and 3 to 6 pm, they would receive another $15.50 as a split-shift premium for a total of $108.50 (6 hours x $15.50 = $99 + $15.50.

Split-shift laws also benefit workers who earn more than minimum wage, although the pay for the extra hour will be less – in fact, the pay for the extra hour is calculated on how much the worker would have earned if paid minimum wage for the hours they worked plus the 1-hour split shift premium.

For example, someone working for $17 per hour for 6 hours would earn $102 each day ($17 x 6 hours = $102). In this scenario, the law requires the employer to pay the worker $6.50 for the one hour of split shift pay, which gets the worker up to $108.50. ($108.50 – $102 = $6.50)


Contact Davtyan Law Firm For More Information About Wage & Hour laws

If you are working a split shift without receiving the compensation you deserve, contact DLaw. Employment laws can be very confusing, so you need an accomplished employment attorney on your side. Our employment lawyer is highly experienced in split-shift laws in California.

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