Maintaining compliance with employment Wage and Hour Laws is an essential part of doing business. Employment laws cover topics like minimum wages, working hours and shift durations, overtime pay, breaks for meals and rests, tips, etc. While the Federal wage and hour standards are set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), individual states and sometimes local governments can also have their own employment laws.

California has its own employment Wage and Hour laws in addition to the ones stipulated by FLSA. In such a scenario where an employer is subjected to multiple laws, the one that is most beneficial for the employees must be followed. As a result, while the federal hourly minimum wage is $7.25, businesses in California are required to pay a higher amount that is specified by the state laws.

Here are some common questions and their answers regarding the California wage and hour laws.

What is the Californian minimum wage?

The employment laws in California has laid down a plan for a gradual increase in the minimum wage with respect to the size of the organization. As of 2019, the hourly minimum wage is $11.00 for smaller employers with up to 25 employees and $12.00 for employers with more than 25 employees.

This number will increase to $12.00 for smaller employers and $13.00 for the larger employers in 2020. The minimum wage is set to gradually rise until 2023 to ultimately become $15.00 per hour for all employers.

When is overtime pay earned?

Similar to the FLSA, Californian laws state that an eligible employee working more than 40 hours in a workweek or 8 hours in a workday must be paid overtime. When an eligible employee works more than 12 hours in a workday, they are entitled to double-time pay. In case an employee works on a seventh-day then they are entitled to one and a half times of pay for the first 8 hours of work and double pay for the hours worked beyond that.

A key point to remember is that not all types of jobs are eligible for overtime pay. The appropriate and federal state laws must be referenced for knowing the eligibility in this case.

What about meal and rest breaks?

Employees are entitled to meal and rest breaks in California, provided certain conditions are met.

Employees can take an unpaid meal break for 30 minutes after 5 hours of work. This is not applicable when workdays are of 6 hours or less and the employer and employee have signed a consent to waive the break.

Employees cannot work continuously for more than 10 hours without taking a 30 minutes break; the only exception is when the workday is not more than 12 hours. A meal break is considered on-duty and is paid for when the employee is not relieved of their duties during the break period. In such a case both the employer and the employee have to agree to this in writing.

The second meal break can be waived off if the first meal break has been availed. For every four hours of work or a major fraction of the time thereof worked, employees are entitled to 10 minutes long paid breaks. The exception to this are California employees whose workday is less than or equal to 3.5 hours.

What is the minimum wage for tipped workers?

Unlike the FLSA which stipulates a lower hourly wage rate for tipped employees, California state laws require employers to pay their tipped employees the full minimum hourly wage rate for all hours worked.

If you need an experienced and trusted attorney to handle your wage and hour laws claim, please contact us ASAP.

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