Flag Hour Auto Mechanics and Piece Rate Workers still get Overtime

Labor Code Section 510 requires that employees get paid one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 8 in one day or 40 in a work week.  If you are an auto mechanic, you probably get paid for all hours that you “flag” while working on automobiles.  But, did you know that your employer must also pay you minimum wage, or more, for the other hours that you work?  Just because your employer can take your flag hours and divide it by your total hours worked and come up with an hourly rate above minimum wage, does not mean they are paying you correctly.

A 2013 California appellate court case, Gonzalez v. Downtown LA Motors, clarified that employers must separately calculate an employees non-flag hours and pay at least minimum wage for all those hours.  For example, if you are cleaning up the shop or waiting for a vehicle to repair, those hours are separate from your flag hours, and must be paid in addition to your flag hours.

This also means, that if you work more than 8 hours, whether flagging or not, you must be paid at least one and one-half times your regular rate of pay for those hours.  Your regular rate of pay can be calculated in one of two ways:

  • The piece or commission rate is used as the regular rate and you are paid one and one-half this rate for production during the first four overtime hours in a workday, and double time for all hours worked beyond 12 in a workday; or
  • Divide your total earnings for the workweek, including earnings during overtime hours, by the total hours worked during the workweek, including the overtime hours. For each overtime hour worked you are entitled to an additional one-half the regular rate for hours requiring time and one-half, and to the full rate for hours requiring double time.

If your employer owes you wages, whether minimum wages or overtime wages, call the unpaid overtime specialists at George Bean Law at 714-904-9338.

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