5 Signs You are Working Unpaid Overtime as a Domestic Caregiver - Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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5 Signs You are Working Unpaid Overtime as a Domestic Caregiver

Overtime and caregiving go hand-in-hand. Whether you are caring for a child, senior, or medical patient a caregiver often feels obligated to ensure their client is cared for even outside of agreed-upon work hours. Clients sometimes expect this extra time and effort as part of the job, and caregivers often want to put in more time just to feel their job is well done and their client is well cared for.

However, caregiving is still a job protected by employee rights, and those rights include overtime pay. If you are working more than 9 hours in a day or more than 45 hours a week, you are working overtime and legally must be paid at the 1.5 overtime rate for additional hours. Unfortunately, many domestic caregivers put in the extra time without asking for or receiving their fair overtime compensation.

Today, we’re spotlighting the five most common signs that you are working unpaid overtime as a domestic caregiver.


1) Your time sheet includes standard-rate pay for more than 45 hours a week.

Good employers clock all the hours you work and provide fair pay, but they may not be doing the math correctly for overtime. Check your time sheets or pay stubs and calculate how much you are being paid by the hour – and how many hours you have worked.

If you are being paid at the standard rate for more than 9 hours in a day or more than 45 hours in a paid week, then some of that time should be 1.5 rate overtime instead. 


2) You often arrive early or stay late to make sure the client is okay.

Caregivers often put in extra time to make sure their client is well cared for both before and after scheduled shifts. If you arrive early to ensure the client is out of bed or the hand-off from another caregiver is done smoothly, this extra time could push you over into overtime.

Even more commonly is domestic caregivers staying late to ensure a client is handed off to the next caregiver or settled safely before departure. If this time goes beyond your scheduled hours, you may be working many unpaid overtime hours a week to provide top quality care – and you deserve to be compensated for it.


3) Your meal and rest breaks are taken with the client, potentially providing care.

As a caregiver, you are more likely to spend your ‘off’ time still working with your client. However, you are obligated to take meal and rest breaks like any other worker. It’s one thing to share a relaxed lunch chatting. This may be a legal meal or rest break. It’s another to provide constant care services during your scheduled (and legally required) off-time breaks during the day. If you are providing care during your break times, those breaks count as work hours instead and could push you into weekly overtime. Especially when combined with late stays or early arrivals.


4) The client sometimes or often asks you to work unscheduled hours.

Caregiving sometimes means being on-call to provide unscheduled care in times of need. If your clients frequently or sometimes call you to work an extra day or unscheduled hours, these can push you into overtime – especially if your caregiving schedule as planned was already full-time. When clients ask for extra time, you can absolutely agree to be there when you’re most needed. Just remember to ask or ensure that extra hours are paid at the overtime rate, and that clients know this is what they are asking for.


5) You have never discussed overtime with your client.

The single biggest red flag in caregivers working unpaid overtime is if you’ve never had the discussion with your client. Domestic clients are often not experienced employers and may not know that you are legally required to receive overtime for hours that exceed a full-time work schedule. If you’ve never had the talk, then your clients may not even realize they are shorting your wages for extra hours worked.

Now may be the time to sit down and talk about how legal compensation works and why both you and the client are obligated to obey overtime pay laws when you work beyond full-time hours.


Are you a domestic caregiver working unpaid overtime, or likely being undercompensated for overtime hours? We can help! Here at Aiman-Smith and Marcy, our legal team specializes in protecting California workers rights across the board. Whether you need to help a well-meaning client pay you fairly or fight a hostile client for fair pay, we are here to help you protect your rights with the most effective methods for each unique situation.

Contact us today to consult on your caregiver pay and overtime situation and rectify unpaid overtime as a policy.