Split Shift

Workers who earn the minimum wage per hour are entitled to additional pay known as a “split shift premium” when their schedule includes a split shift. The premium is equal to one hour of pay at the rate of the minimum wage. (Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders 1-15, Section 4

An employee who is paid more than minimum wage may also be due a split shift premium, however, the greater the wage the lower the premium will be.

Also note, an employee who resides at the place of employment is exempt from the split shift premium.

1.   Q.  What is a split shift?

  A. A split shift is a work schedule that is interrupted by non-paid and non-working time periods established by the employer. The time period between shifts needs to be longer than a bona fide meal period and needs to be within the same workday. The break between shifts cannot be a meal or rest break and must be to the benefit of the employer. If an employee requests the break for their own convenience, then it is not a split shift. An example of a split shift is a restaurant worker whose schedule is to work from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and return at 4:00 p.m. to work the dinner shift.

A minimum wage employee with a split shift schedule must be paid a split shift premium. The employee must be paid the premium each shift their daily schedule is split.

2. Q. How much is the split shift premium?

  A. The split shift premium is one hour at the state minimum wage, or the local minimum wage if there is one, whichever is greater. Any money earned over and above the state, or local, minimum wage will be credited towards the employer’s obligation to pay the split shift premium. Please see number 6 for an example of how the split shift premium is calculated.

3. Q. Who is responsible for keeping track of the split shift payment, the employer or the worker?

  A. It is always your employer’s legal responsibility to keep accurate time records of hours worked as well as payroll records.

4. Q. Does the split shift premium need to be reflected on the pay stub as a separate item?

  A. The employer must itemize the premium payment on the pay stub provided to the employee. It should be shown as a separate category such as “Split Shift Premium” and should not be lumped into another category such as wages, bonus, etc.

5. Q. Would a worker qualify for a split shift premium if they are scheduled to work the morning shift and then voluntarily pick up an evening shift?

  A. Voluntarily picking up an extra shift does not qualify for the split shift premium. The purpose of the split shift premium is to prevent abuses by employers for scheduling shifts that are not voluntary.

6. Q. My regular workday includes a split shift, however, I make $12 per hour and minimum wage is currently $11 per hour. I work six total hours in a workday, so am I entitled to a split shift premium?”

  A. Yes, because you work six hours, and the minimum wage for your workday that includes a split shift is $77 (6 hours times $11 plus an additional $11 for the split shift premium). If you are only paid $72 (6 hours times $12), you are due $5 ($77 - $72 = $5) differential for working a split shift.

7. Q. How is overtime calculated on a split shift?

  A. Split shift has no impact or effect on overtime. See the FAQ on overtime for what constitutes overtime in California.

May 2018