4 Hour Minimum Shift California
Under California labor law, employees who normally work 8-hour shifts are guaranteed 4 hours minimum pay for any day where they are scheduled or could have a shift. If an employee has to call in, report in, text message, check email, or login to a website to see if he or she has a shift, that employee is entitled to half a day’s page. For part-time employees with irregular work days, if shifts are 8 hours and the employee doesn’t know in advance on any given day if they are scheduled, California law requires compensation for a 4 hour minimum shift. The same minimum-shift rule applies if the employee reports to work but is sent home early.
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California's 4-Hour Minimum Pay Rule
California’s reporting-time pay law says that if a California non-exempt employee has to “report” to work, they must receive at least half their regular hours. A California appellate court recently said that “report” to work includes not only being physically present, but also having to call in to work to see if you are scheduled. The court held that:
telephonic call-in requirements … trigger reporting time pay.
If an employee’s typical shift is less than four hours, California reporting-time law requires that the employee be paid a minimum of two hours at the employee’s regular rate of pay. On the flip side, if an employee’s typical shift is more than 8 hours and the employee only learns same-day whether they are scheduled, the employee is only entitled to a maximum of four hours pay in reporting-time penalties.
Does California labor law require a 4-hour minimum shift?
No, California law does not require that employers have shifts of only 4 hours or more. The California call-in rule only requires that whenever an employee has to check-in to see if they have a shift scheduled that day, the employer must pay them a half shift’s worth of pay if they aren’t scheduled. Because a typical shift is 8 hours, in practice, the rule means that most shift workers must receive at least 4 hours pay if their employer uses a call-in scheduling system.
But there is no minimum shift length. An employer can have shifts of only 1.5 hours. The California rule, however, requires that if a shift is cancelled or not scheduled last minute, an employee with a 1.5-hour shift must receive a minimum of two hours in reporting-time penalties.
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