Monday, the California Supreme court voted 7-0 in favor of the seven days in the same work week interpretation. This means that, if you define your work week, as long as an employee has one day off in that workweek, they are not eligible for premium ovcr-time payments. They rejected the interpretation that employees should only work 6 days and affirmed the wording that employees may only work 6 days in the same work week.
Here is how it works. If your work week is Monday through Sunday, and the employee works every day in the week, the hours they work on Sunday would be subject to the 7th day penalty where the first 8 hours are at time and a half and all hours after the 8th hour are double time. However, if an employee worked Wednesday to the following Wednesday, there is no violation of the seven day rule because they had at least one day off in each work week as defined.
This is why it is so important to establish and notify your employees of your work week in your employee handbook and other documents. It does not have to align with paydays, but it is preferable. Remember, if you pay twice a month, it is possible that a payday falls in the middle of a pay period and you may miss an employee working through the seven day rule because part falls in 2 different pay periods. You are still responsible for paying the penalty overtime if this happens. You would apply it in the pay period where the seventh day was worked.
Overall, this is a victory for employers who have been following these rules as written for many years. To change them now would have been a huge hit to employers across California. Having one day off a work week is good for employer and employee, but a new law of 1 day off in any seven days could be hard to adjust. This is especially true of businesses such as restaurants where you have high turnover, people calling in sick and then you have to ask another employee to come in to cover a shift.
So, rejoice, the courts did the right thing. The best way to keep the government out of these things is to pay properly, follow the law and make sure your competition is doing the same.