California has implemented labor laws that prioritize the protection of employee rights for valid reasons. The state’s public policy emphasizes the importance of fair and lawful wages, holding employers accountable for any violations of wage and hour laws. This commitment to fairness benefits both the working public and California’s overall economy. In cases where violations are proven, California’s labor laws not only require the payment of unpaid wages but also impose penalties and other damages.
Minimum wage laws ensure that employees are fairly compensated. All California employers are required to pay employees a minimum wage of at least $15.50 per hour as of January 1, 2023. If your current wages fall below the minimum wage, your employer may have violated these laws, and you may be eligible for compensation.
Please note that tips and gratuities cannot be considered as part of the minimum wage payment. Regardless of the amount earned in tips, employers are required to pay the full minimum wage of $15.50 per hour.
Overtime laws, as established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), ensure that employees receive appropriate compensation for hours worked beyond 40 hours per workweek. Non-exempt employees, typically those paid on an hourly basis, are entitled to receive overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly rate. It’s important to note that whether an employee is eligible for overtime pay is determined by their job duties and responsibilities, rather than their job title or salary status.
California labor laws also address meal and rest breaks for employees. During an 8-hour shift, employees must be given an uninterrupted 30-minute meal break and two ten-minute rest breaks. Employers are required to relieve employees of all duties during these breaks. Failure to provide these breaks may result in the employer being liable for up to 2 hours of premium pay per day, calculated at the employee’s hourly rate.
An “exempt” employee is one who meets three conditions:
- Salary Basis Test: The employee receives a fixed sum of money for each week or shorter period, regardless of the number of hours worked or the quality of work performed. There are exceptions to this test, allowing employers to pay a lesser sum for full-day absences due to personal reasons, such as illness.
- Salary Test: The employee must earn a minimum salary of $684 per week.
- Duties Test: The employee falls into one of three categories: executive, administrative, or professional.
Executive employees primarily manage at least two employees and possess hiring and firing authority, or their recommendations regarding these decisions carry significant weight.
Administrative professionals perform office work related to business policy management and exercise independent judgment on matters significant to the business.
Professional employees engage in advanced work in a field of science or learning. Certain healthcare employees, such as licensed practical nurses and x-ray technicians, do not meet the professional employee’s test and are therefore entitled to overtime provisions. However, registered nurses, physician assistants, and physical therapists are generally considered exempt from overtime regulations, and no overtime wages are due to them.
Help is Available
Attorney Terry Davis has been successfully representing clients in actions against their employers for over 30 years. If you have been the victim of Wage and Hours Violations, you need to retain a knowledgeable, experienced Employment Attorney who will fight for your rights. Failure to take action in a timely manner could prevent you from obtaining the monetary relief you may be entitled to receive!