Union Protects Overtime Pay for California Freelance Writers
Mandatory time-and-a-half overtime pay is now required for California freelance writers who work as hourly employees.
Under the provisions of the "Eight-Hour-Day Restoration and Workplace Flexibility Act" (AB60) that went into effect earlier this year, all California writers working as hourly W2 employees are now covered by mandatory overtime laws.
This includes the many freelance business, technical, web, and instructional writers who are paid as hourly temps through agencies. It also includes staff writers who are paid on an hourly basis.
(Note that freelancers being paid on a 1099 independent-contractor basis are NOT covered by this law.)
If you work as an hourly employee, for every hour over 8 per day or 40 per week that you work you should bill at a time-and-a-half rate.
For example, if your hourly rate is $50 and you put in a 9 hour day, you would bill $475 (9 x $50 = $450 + $25 half-rate for the extra hour = $475). Be sure to note on your invoice the over-time hours for which you get time-and-a-half.
If the agency or client refuses to pay you overtime, they are in violation of law and the union will take up a grievance against them on your behalf.
When this law went into effect early this year it was immediately attacked by the temp agencies who tried to get it overturned. With the help of the UAW and outstanding support from the California Labor Federation we beat back their efforts to deny overtime pay for freelance writers.
The legislative lobbying effort that successfully defended this new benefit were led by former BITE organizer Alice Sunshine, Tech Writers Chair Andreas Ramos, BITE Co-Chair Jeffry Fawcett, Dirk van Nouhuys, and NWU Secretary-Treasurer Bruce Hartford.
Last Modified: September 23, 2000.