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Is it Illegal to Not Have a Day Off Work?

Posted by Eric Kingsley | May 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

As an employee in California, you may be wondering how many days you can legally work in a row without a break. While federal law does not limit the number of days in a row an employee might work, according to California Labor Code Section 551, all California employees, regardless of the field in which they work, are entitled to at least one day of rest out of every seven days. Section 552 of the code also states that no employer may require employees to work more than six days in a seven-day period. An employer who does so may be charged with a misdemeanor.

However, there are exceptions to these laws and requirements. In this article, we will go over how many days in a row you are legally allowed to work in California and in which situations your employer may be crossing over the line and violating your rights.

What California Law States

California labor law protects employees in two ways that could have an impact on how many days they can work. Firstly, it requires rest days every workweek and secondly, it provides more overtime pay. California's labor laws offer protections much stronger than those afforded to workers by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If your employer violates these labor laws in California, they can face a wage and hour lawsuit that could lead to civil penalties. In some cases, your employer could even face criminal charges.

Rest Days

California labor laws require that employees receive one rest day each week. The law prohibits employers requiring hourly or non-exempt employees to work more than six out of seven days in a week. The law also requires that rest day to come every calendar month and not every seven days. However, not all employees are covered under this law.

There are two major exemptions - for workers who are part-time or those who don't work more than 30 hours in a workweek, and workers who perform emergency services. Those in the second category are entitled to a monthly equivalent of one day of rest each week. Employees who are covered under this law may still choose to work all seven days in a week. Before you do so, your employer must tell you about your rights to a day off and cannot encourage you to give up those rights. Employers who violate this law can be charged with a misdemeanor crime. They must pay affected employees lost wages. In addition, they must pay civil fines.

Overtime Pay

If you work more than six days in a row, California's overtime laws can also kick in. Under state laws, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than six consecutive days in a workweek. Your employer may even have to pay you double pay if you work too many days in a row. California's laws require employers to pay double-time (twice your normal rate of pay) when you work beyond the eighth hour of your seventh day of work in one workweek.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is it lawful to work seven days a week without a day off?

It is legal in California to work seven days a week without a day off. Section 554 of the California Labor Code gives employers the option to have an employee for seven consecutive days.

Is it illegal to work seven consecutive days in California?

This is not illegal. However, employers must make sure that employees receive overtime pay for any work performed on your seventh consecutive day. Workers must receive time-and-a-half or 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for the first eight hours of work on the seventh day and twice the pay rate for work done after than.

Can you work 14 consecutive days in California?

This is still not necessarily illegal under California law. California's rest day law allow for 13- and 14-day workweeks because your rest days can be calculated as an average over the course of the month.

What about those who work part-time in California?

With regard to rest days, they are not applicable to employees who work less than six hours in a day or 30 hours in a week. However, if the employee works more than 30 hours in a workweek, they are entitled to get a day of rest.

Contacting an Employment Lawyer

If you believe that your employer is violating your rights by denying rest days or not paying the correct overtime wages, it is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced employment attorney in Los Angeles who can help you understand your legal rights and options. At Kingsley and Kingsley, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge you any fees until we recover compensation for you. Call us at (818) 408-6708 for a no-cost initial consultation and case evaluation.

About the Author

Eric Kingsley

Eric B. Kingsley is a 2023 "Best In Law" Award winner and has litigated over 150 class actions. He is also an AV peer rated attorney and a prolific speaker at various seminars on employment law.


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