Things Seasonal Employees In California Should Know

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In California, all workers are protected by state labor laws regardless of where they were born or their legal status. Once an employer hires you to perform a temporary, part-time, or seasonal job, you have certain essential rights that all workers have in California.

Many California employers rely greatly on the use of seasonal employees. These workers are a vital component of the California economy. Seasonal work is temporary employment that recurs around the same time every year to meet the demands of businesses that peak at certain expected times of the year. Seasonal employees hire seasonal employees for extra help when things get busiest. Seasonal jobs may be based on warm or cold weather – snowplow drivers in winter and lifeguards in summer.

Other examples include jobs in the following industries:

  • tourism (holidays, summer vacation, spring break),
  • retail (Christmas and Hanukkah holiday season),
  • food (harvest and picking times for fruits, vegetables, and other crops)

To further the public policy of protecting employees from unfair employment practices, California law offers many legal safeguards for employees. However, it is up to you to assert your rights. Remember, consider that no one will do it for you, except an attorney.

The following are some things every California seasonal worker should know:

  1. Seasonal Workers Have the Right to Earn Minimum Wage

Whether you work as a part-time, temporary, or seasonal employee, you have essential rights as an employee in California. These valuable rights must be respected by your current employer, regardless of the type of employee you were considered upon hire. The burden for knowing and complying with employment-related laws typically always falls on the employer. Your employer must follow the law and not diminish these rights in any way. The right to receive minimum wage is essential. You also have the right to receive overtime pay or double pay when applicable.

  1. Seasonal employees are entitled to accrue Paid Sick Leave (PSL) if they work more than 30 hours a week.

California law requires that employers provide at least an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked by an employee. Employers may not ask an employee for a doctor’s note nor take any retaliatory actions against an employee who uses Paid Sick Leave.

  1. Seasonal employees may be entitled to membership in the Public Employees’ Retirement Law (“PERL”)

If seasonal employment exceeds six months of full-time service or one year of part-time service (at least an average of 20 hours per week), the employee must be enrolled in membership with CalPERS.  The most often cited membership thresholds for seasonal employees is 125 days of service when paid on a “per diem” basis or 1,000 hours of services if paid on a basis other than “per diem” in a fiscal year. If paid service equals or exceeds 125 days or 1,000 hours in a fiscal year, the employee is entitled to membership.

  1. General contractors are held jointly liable for their subcontractors’ unpaid wages and benefits. 

If you fail to receive your pay from a subcontractor, the general contractor for the work on the project or job site also has the legal obligation to pay your wages.

  1. Seasonal workers may qualify for workers’ compensation if injured on the job.

If injured on the job, even as a seasonal employee, you may receive some workers’ compensation benefits.

  1. Seasonal workers have the right to report a wage or safety violation without facing retaliation from an employer

Retaliation by an employer for reporting any of the above conduct is illegal in California.

  1. Seasonal workers have the right to take rest and meal breaks

All workers have the right to an unpaid meal break of at least 30 minutes if working more than 5 hours (and a second meal break if working more than 10 hours). Seasonal workers also have the right to a 10-minute break for every 4 hours worked.

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.