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What are my rights as a salary based employee?

Campbell, CA |

My boss has been forcing me in to hard to maintain schedules, aka not letting me know when my days off are. I am working close to 60 hours per week, however my pay is based on 40hrs per week, according to my paycheck. The work week starts Sunday and ends Saturday. Recently I have been working 7 days straight between work weeks with no days off. For instance I would start working Wednesday to Tuesday then 1 day off then Wednesday to Tuesday again. The hours are split between weeks but I am still going to work 7 day in a row.

First question is: Can I be forced to work 7 days straight?

second question is: Does California laws give me a right to two days off each week.

and finally how may hours can I be forced to work each day? week?
Thank you for your time:)

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Attorney answers 5


The question is answered first by determining if you are properly characterized as exempt of non-exempt. You can be non-exempt and still be paid a salary, but if that is the case you are entitled to overtime all of the other protections of the Labor Code. As an exempt employee, you would not be entitled to overtime, and you would be exempt from most of the other wage and hour protections.

To determine if you are exempt or not, you need to reference the Wage Order that applies to the industry of your employer. You can find the Wage Orders at the following link.

If you believe you are a non-exempt employee based on the relevant Wage Order, it would be prudent for you to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


Your question cannot be answered without knowing about your duties so as to determine if you are exempt from overtime or nonexempt. If exempt, you may be forced to work as you have been without days off or overtime pay. If nonexempt, you are entitled to overtime pay of at least time and one-half for hours over 8 in a day or over 40 in a workweek plus interest for unpaid OT plus possible late payment penalties plus your attorneys' fees. To simplify a very complex area of labor law, there are several types of exempt employees:

Professional exemption: (attorneys, doctors, etc.)
Executive exemption (Pres, VP, etc.)
Administrative exemption (the most difficult to analyze - but basically depends on if you regularly exercise independent judgment and decisionmaking, etc.)
Computer workers (must meet certain elements)

If you believe you are nonexempt based on your duties, call an employment law attorney to discuss.


The first issue is whether you are an exempt or non-exempt employee. You are not exempt just because you are paid a salary. If you are an exempt employee then you are not paid on an hourly basis you are paid a salary based upon performance of job duties. Under federal law, your employer has no restrictions on how many hours you are expected to work to perform your job duties. I do not practice in California but state law may provide limitations on your employer's scheduling.

Kristine S Karila

Kristine S Karila


The only CA restriction is for CA employers to pay overtime (time and one-half or double time depending on the amount of hours or if 7 consecutive days worked within a workweek) to any nonexempt employee who works overtime.


As the other attorneys who responded discussed, an attorney cannot really answer this question without knowing more about your day-to-day job duties and functions. Keep in mind that employers often improperly classify employees as "exempt" salaried employees to avoid paying overtime when, in fact, the employee should be classified as a non-exempt employee entitled to overtime. The best course of action is to contact an employment attorney to discuss whether you may be a misclassified employee.


Employers generally may require employees to work any number of hours during a given week so long as the required overtime premium is paid. Whether you are entitled to overtime depends on whether you are exempt or nonexempt as my colleagues have pointed out. There is, however, one exception. Employees are entitled to one day of rest out of every seven days worked under Labor Code section 551. However, an employer may require that an employee work more than six consecutive days if the nature of the work reasonably requires such a schedule under Labor Code section 554.