If you are an employee who has decided to work on a flexible schedule, you can manage your work-life balance effectively. Your work schedule will involve non-paid and non –working periods that your employer establishes. If you work a split shift, your employer must compensate you for one hour based on your minimum wage pay rate and your minimum wage for that workday. You should receive an extra hour for the day you have worked. This is referred to as a split shift premium. But if your earnings are above your hourly minimum wage, your employer may not be obligated to pay for the extra hour for your split shift.
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Understanding Your Split Shift Schedule
The law concerning split shifts in California is stringent. You may have an unpaid wages claim if your employer does not follow the separated shift law. There have been many cases involving split shift scheduling, where employers have found themselves in court due to disagreement on payments received. Generally, you will be eligible for split-shift pay if:
- Your work schedule includes a chunk of unpaid time, which is more than one hour, excluding your meal period or bona fide rest.
- There is an interruption for two work periods. This means you are not working consistently for eight hours.
- Your total wages don’t exceed your applicable minimum wage for all hours worked, including the additional one hour.
It’s worth noting that an employer doesn’t have to pay for a split shift premium for any employee who lives in the place of employment. Again, if you voluntarily pick up another shift, you may not be entitled to a split shift premium.
Your Rights As An Employee
Workers have rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to be fairly paid for any work they perform. As such, you have the right to receive your split shift pay for your work time. Any agreement to offer a shift should be between the employer and the employee. The reason is that no law relates to an employee being entitled to shift pay. In any case, you must be keen when demanding such payments in the event of recovering unpaid shift pay. If you believe in having a split shift claim, you must prove that:
- There was an agreement between you and your employer, either implicit or explicit. Though California laws hold verbal agreements to be legally binding, it’s always essential to have such agreements in writing and codified in an employment contract.
- There was a breach of contract when your employer failed to pay for your split shift pay.
It becomes easier when an employee is in a union. In such a case, you can use collective bargaining power to demand your pay and prove that your employer violated the terms in your employment contract.
Calculation Of Split Shift Pay
Under California law, any employee scheduled for a split shift is entitled to receive an hour of premium pay. For instance, if you work a shift from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and later get back to work from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 pm, you will have worked a split shift. In such a case, your non-paid and non-working time should be more than an hour. Thus, your employer must pay a split shift premium, an hour’s pay at your minimum wage in addition to your regular earnings to be paid for the shift. If your employer is to pay more than the state minimum wage, the excess amount is to be credited for a split shift. It sometimes gets tricky when it comes to the calculation of split shift premiums. Though most companies in California have their way of dealing with split shift pays, most of them use two methods to calculate the shift pay:
- Flat rate formula: Where a certain predetermined amount is added to the regular rate of pay
- Percentage method: Under this method, the base rate, which can also be referred to as straight time, is multiplied by a specific percentage
There are many ways to come up with split shift pay. With the help of an experienced employment lawyer, you can get to understand the proper procedure to use. It’s good to note that your split shift pay will not be factored in for overtime pay.
The fact is that your split shift premium may seem to have no value, but when such figures keep on recurring over some time, that adds up to a significant amount of money. If your employer schedules a split shift and refuses to pay you, you may have an unpaid wages lawsuit. Since such claims can be pretty complicated, having an employment lawyer evaluate your case would be a good idea.