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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: California Employment Law
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I am a restaurant owner in California, and have 3 managers

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I am a restaurant owner in California, and have 3 managers working under salary wages ($900/wk for the general manager, $550/wk for the jr. manager, and $600/wk for the chef.) We also give them generous bonuses monthly for the work they do, up to $1,300 dependant on their performance and the sales we make.

Each one of them works about 50 hours a week (sometimes into the 58-60 hours depending on how business is doing.) Is there a max number of hours I can ask them to stay, or is there a cap on the hours they put in at my business, being salaried employees?

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

This is actually a very complicated issue and the answer is likely different for a chef than for a management employee. This is because management employees are typically "overtime exempt," where a chef typically is not unless his or her primary duty is the "management of the enterprise or of a customarily recognized department or subdivision thereof” or he or she fits within another exemption.

Overtime exempt employees can work any number of hours, but their hourly pay must always break down to be no less than two times the minimum wage, which in CA in $8/hr. Thus, if their weekly pay, when divided by 16, equals less than the number of hours that they worked, the employer would need to make up the difference or risk a violation.

A chef is typically not exempt from overtime. For a full list of overtime exemptions, look here:

Thus, while a chef can be salaried, he or she will still be entitled to overtime compensation (1.5 times their "regular rate of pay") for all hours worked in excess of 8 per day or 40 per week. To calculate the "regular rate of pay," follow the instructions contained here:

To summarize, while an employer is absolutely free to require employees to work 50, 60, or more hours per week, the employer must ensure that the salaried pay equals 2 times the minimum wage for overtime exempt employees (overtime need not be paid) and that non-exempt employees are paid overtime for all hours in excess of 8 per day or 40 per week.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

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