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California is known for its stringent labor laws, and staffing firms operating within the state must navigate these regulations carefully to ensure compliance. One crucial aspect of employment law that both staffing agencies and their workers need to understand is overtime pay. This is true of firms that run their own back office, or use an Employer of Record (EOR) partner. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the overtime laws in California as they pertain to staffing firms, shedding light on what you need to know to stay on the right side of the law.

The Basics of Overtime in California

Overtime pay, often referred to as “time and a half,” is a legal requirement in California for non-exempt employees who work more than a certain number of hours in a workweek or more than eight hours in a workday. While these rules apply to all employers, including staffing firms, it’s essential to understand how they specifically impact the staffing industry.

Non-Exempt vs. Exempt Employees

First and foremost, staffing agencies must determine the classification of their employees as exempt or non-exempt. Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay, while exempt employees are not. The determination of whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt is based on factors like job duties, salary level, and other criteria specified by the California Department of Industrial Relations.

Typically, many temporary workers placed by staffing agencies are considered non-exempt, making them eligible for overtime pay. Therefore, staffing firms must closely monitor their employees’ hours and adhere to overtime regulations.

Overtime Rates

California’s overtime rules are more stringent than federal regulations, which is why it’s important for staffing agencies to be aware of the state-specific requirements. In California, non-exempt employees are entitled to the following overtime rates:

  • For hours worked beyond 8 hours in a workday: 1.5 times the regular rate of pay.
  • For the first 8 hours worked on the 7th consecutive day in a workweek: 1.5 times the regular rate of pay.
  • For hours worked beyond 12 hours in a workday: 2 times the regular rate of pay.
  • For hours worked beyond 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day in a workweek: 2 times the regular rate of pay.

Staffing firms must accurately calculate and provide overtime pay at the applicable rates to their eligible employees.

Record-Keeping and Compliance

Staffing agencies must maintain accurate records of their employees’ hours worked and any overtime paid. It is essential to establish efficient time-tracking systems to ensure compliance with California’s labor laws. Failure to do so can result in legal repercussions and financial penalties.

Additionally, staffing firms should also ensure that their temporary workers are well-informed about their rights under California labor law. This includes understanding how overtime is calculated and paid, as well as how to report any violations or concerns.


Overtime law in California for staffing firms is a critical aspect of labor regulation that must be taken seriously. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to costly legal consequences, damaged reputations, and unhappy employees. To ensure compliance, staffing agencies should consult with legal counsel experienced in California labor law and establish robust record-keeping processes. By taking these steps, staffing firms can navigate California’s labor landscape while providing their employees with the benefits and protections they deserve.

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