List of California Wage & Hour Laws That Every Employee Should Know

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We no longer live in the 19th and early 20th centuries when employers frequently exploited employees with unscrupulous abandon. Nevertheless, 21st-century employers still attempt to exploit employees when they believe it may increase the profits of their business enterprises. To further the public policy of protecting employees from unfair exploitative employment practices, California law offers many legal safeguards for employees.

Employers are required to pay workers for and provide rest and meal breaks. Failure to do so is “wage theft.” Employers may try to categorize a worker as an independent contractor to avoid compliance with California wage laws. Filing a claim in this situation for back wages may result in the entitlement to back wages. The following is a list of California laws related to wages and breaks that every California employee should know:

  1. Employers must pay minimum wage

Contract workers or those who are paid by the piece or unit or paid by the day or week. The wages of these workers must still equal at least minimum wage for all the hours worked. Tips are separate and may not be counted as part of the minimum wage. Some employees do not have to be paid minimum wage, including outside salespersons and close family members.

  1. Employers must pay overtime equal to 1½ times the regular rate of pay
  • For most occupations, all hours over eight (8) in one day or over 40 in one week, and for the first eight hours of work on the seventh day of work in a workweek.
  • For personal attendants, all hours over nine (9) in one day or over 45 in one week.
  1. Pay double time
  • For most occupations, all hours over 12 in one day or over eight on the seventh day of work in a workweek
  1. Provide a paid 10-minute rest break for every four (4) hours of work.

These rest breaks must be counted as time worked and therefore must be paid time. They must also be in the middle of the employee’s work period, to the extent practical.

  1. Provide a meal break of at least 30 minutes after no more than five (5) hours of work.

The meal break must be provided within the first five hours of the workday. Employees who work more than ten hours in a day are entitled to a second 30-minute meal break. Employees may waive this meal break if they will not work more than six hours in the day. Employees may waive this second meal break if their workday will be no longer than twelve (12) hours and they did not waive the first meal break.

  1. Pay employees (with certain limited exceptions) at least twice a month on designated regular paydays.

California employers must provide a wage stub or statement with certain required information for every payment of wages, whether by cash or check. This information includes pay period dates; gross wages earned; total hours worked; the breakdown of hourly rates and hours worked at each rate; piece-rate information if applicable; all deductions; net wages; name and ID number of employee; and legal name and address of the employer.

Moss Bollinger is a law firm that protects the rights of all California employees, regardless of occupation. We make unscrupulous employers pay the legal consequences of violating the rights of their employees. The attorneys at Moss Bollinger level the playing field against employers who abuse the employee-employer relationship. To determine whether your rights have been violated and whether you have a claim, call 866-942-7974 for a free consultation or contact us online. We work on a contingency basis and receive no fee unless you win your case.