How Do Split-Shift Premiums Work in California? 

Often times, workers are asked to work split-shifts, which are two shifts in a day that have unpaid interruptions in between them. Split shift schedules are common in workplaces such as the restaurant industry, where workers may come in to work from 10am to 2pm and return to work at 5pm for the dinner shift. The interrupted breaks are only considered a part of split shifts if the employer requires it for their own convenience and if the time period is longer than a 30-minute meal break.

Employees who work split-shifts are entitled to “split-shift premiums,” which is an extra hour of pay at the minimum wage* in addition to the regular rate of pay for all hours worked in the day. However, workers are only entitled to “split-shift premiums” if they earned less than the minimum wage times actual hours worked plus one hour’s pay at minimum wage.

The equation for this calculation looks like this:

Regular Rate of Pay x Hours Worked < (Minimum Wage x Hours Worked) + Minimum Wage

For example, if a worker is paid $13 an hour for working 6 hours a day, then they made $78 a day. The minimum wage for workers at a company with 26 or more employees is $12. When using the equation above, ($12 x 6) + $12 equals t $84. Since the worker only made $78 a day, which is less than the calculation of $84, the worker is entitled to an extra hour of pay at the minimum wage. The worker would then be entitled to $12 extra per workday.

However, if a worker earned more than the equation for calculating split-shift premiums, then they are not entitled to an additional hour of pay at the minimum wage.

Employees who are not paid the minimum wage may also be entitled to a split-shift premium, but the higher their wages, the lower their premiums will be. It is important to note that workers who live at their place of employment are not entitled to split-shift premiums. Other workers that are not entitled to split-shift premiums include employees who are covered by the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Order 16, which includes workers in the on-site construction, lodging, drilling, and mining industries.

It is the responsibility of the employer to keep track of paying employees their split-shift premiums and labeling it as “Split Shift Premium” in a separate category from regular wages on employees’ earnings statements.

If your employer failed to pay you split-shift premiums and you would like to take legal action, feel free to give our office a call at (323) 208-9171 or email us at

*Effective January 1, 2019, the California minimum wage is $12 for companies with 26 or more employees, and $11 for companies with 25 or fewer employees.

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