Unpaid Wages/Overtime & Other Wage Issues
All employees are entitled to all wages earned. An employer in a timely fashion must pay all earned wages to each and every employee. Labor Code section 203 entitles an employee to a waiting time penalty of a full day of wages, with a 30-day limit, for each day that the employer willfully failed to pay their wages. In connection with each wage payment, the employer must additionally provide the employee with a wage statement which sets forth critical information including, but not limited to, gross wages, net wages, hours worked during the pay period and all deductions. If the employer fails to provide the required wage statement, Labor Code section 226(e) provides that the employee is entitled to a statutory penalty for each violation together with reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
Overtime laws protect employees from being forced to work extensive hours without additional compensation. However, state and federal regulations for overtime are often complex and confusing. Furthermore, employers often misclassify employees, intentionally or accidentally, as exempt so as to avoid paying overtime compensation. Exempt employees usually work in administrative, executive, or professional positions. However, there are very specific parameters that must be met before an employee is truly exempt from the overtime requirements under California law. For example, the exempt employee must be compensated at a base monthly salary of at least twice minimum wage, have the authority to hire or fire employees and spend more than fifty percent of their time managing the business or at least two subordinates. If an employee designated by an employer as exempt does not meet these strict statutory guidelines, then the employee is entitled to overtime pay. If an employee is entitled to overtime compensation, they are entitled to receive an hourly pay rate of time and one half for each hour worked over eight in a single work day and each hour worked over 40 in a single work week. Similarly, an employee is entitled to double time for each hour worked over twelve in a single day and each hour worked over eight on the seventh consecutive day during a single week.
Missed Meal or Rest Breaks
California law requires an employer to provide all employees who are not exempt from the overtime requirements with a 30 minute meal period if they work more than five hours in a single day and a ten minute rest break for every four hours worked. (California Labor Code Section 512) An employee must be relieved of all duties during the meal period. If the employee is not relieved of all duties during the meal period, then they are entitled to an additional hour of pay for each violation together with reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs in recovering the penalty
Additional Wage & Hour Issues
Other common issues in wage or overtime cases include whether or not an individual is an independent contractor, been paid the required minimum wage, the differing rules applicable to certain industries or occupations, or the fact that the employer failed to reimburse the employee for business expenses. In light of the complex and constantly evolving nature of the wage and overtime laws, contact the Perrin Law Group today for your free consultation today.