Checklist Of Common Wage Claims and Violations in California
Below is a brief list of the most common wage violations in California that both employees and employers should be aware of:
- Timekeeping requirement. Employers have a duty to maintain accurate payroll records and time records. Failure to do so may result in liability and penalties. (Labor Code section 226)
- Overtime pay. Employers are required to pay overtime to non-exempt employees for all hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day or 40 hours per week with a limited number of exceptions. (Labor Code section 510)
- Rest and meal periods. Non-exempt employees are entitled to duty free rest period for every four hours of work and duty free meal periods for working over 5 hours, and an additional break for working over 10 hours. (Labor Code section 226).
- Minimum wage and liquidated damages. Employers must pay all employees at least minimum wage. Failure to do so subjects employers to liability for liquidated damages, equal to minimum wage for every hour the aggrieved employee was not paid the legally required minimum wage. (Labor Code section 1194.2.). Employers are urged to check the local minimum wage for the most up to date information frequently, as higher minimum wage is often adopted by specific Stated and Counties, and minimum wage rate changes regularly.
- Waiting time penalties. Employers must pay their employees their final pay immediately upon termination or within 72 hours of resignation, when notice of resignation wasn't provided in advance. Willful failure to timely pay final wages subject employers to waiting time penalties for up to 30 days worth of normal wages of that employee. (Labor Code sections 201 & 203). "Willfull" doesn't mean intentional or with malice, but only requires to establish that the employer didn't do what he knew he was supposed to do. (Marika v Barka (1998)).
- Compensation for "split shifts". Split shift means a work schedule interrupted by non-paid, non-working periods established by employer other than typical rest and meal periods. An employee is entitled to one hour's pay at minimum for a split shift break. (Wage Order 7-2001(2)(M) & Wage Order 7-2001(4)(C)).