People Operations | Management

Split shift pay

In California, a split shift differential may entitle an employee whose work schedule is interrupted by a nonpaid, nonworking period established by the employer (other than a rest or meal period) to an additional payment. This payment is usually one hour paid at minimum wage.


A split shift occurs when an organization assigns an employee two distinct work times in one day. An example of this would occur when the employee’s schedule is 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and then again from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. When there is an unpaid interruption of more than one hour in the workday, the employee must be paid an additional one hour of pay at minimum wage unless the employee resides at the place of employment.


A unique situation arises when an employee’s workday, as defined by the employer, crosses payroll dates.


A night shift employee who works from 12:01 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. and then again from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. is subject to split shift pay, assuming a workday of 12:01 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. In situations such as these, employers can redefine the workday. A workday of 9:01 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the night shift example would prevent the employer from having a split shift.

Regardless of how the workday is defined, split shift pay normally does not become part of the calculation for overtime because it is not a payment for time worked.