Working the night shift comes with its own detriments and risks, including fatigue, stress, and a higher risk of injury. For that reason, night shift workers and other workers working a less-than-desirable shift are known to be paid additional compensation called a shift differential.
While it may be industry-standard to pay an employee a shift differential for overnight work, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), it isn’t a federal requirement.
The FLSA states:
“Extra pay for working night shifts is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee’s representative). The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require extra pay for night work. However, the FLSA does require that covered, nonexempt workers are paid not less than time and one-half the employee’s regular rate for time worked over 40 hours in a workweek.”
Essentially, the FLSA provides that aside from overtime pay, employers are not required to pay employees additional pay for their work, abnormal schedule or not. Assigning an employee late hours is not grounds for additional pay.
While California’s state law does not entitle employees to more compensation for working the night shift, California’s nonexempt workers do earn double-time pay for working over 12 hours in one shift. Additionally, if an employee works consecutively 7 days, on the 7th day of work employees receive double-time for hours worked over 8.