Top 5 Wage & Hour Employment Questions
Wage and hour laws in California is something we are frequently asked about.
Many people are not aware of wage and hour laws or their rights as an employee in California.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear:
Can an employer pay me below minimum wage if I’m also making tips?
This depends on how much money you make in tips
Usually, an employer must pay any employees under the federal minimum wages guidelines ($7.25 per hour) or the state’s minimum wages if it is higher than the federal rate.
It tends to get a little more complicated with you involve tips into the equation.
The federal wage and hour laws state that an employer can pay below minimum wage ($2.13 per hour) if an employee consistently makes at least $30 per month in tips.
However, an employees wages + tips must equal at least the federal minimin wage requirements for each hour worked in order for an employer to do this.
If the amount earned with tips included equates to less than the federal minimum wage guidelines, the employer must make up the difference.
California is one of the states that does not allow employers to pay employees less than minimum wage, even when they earn tips.
To learn more about the wage and hour laws for employees who earn tips in each state, go to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm
Is an employer required to pay me while in training?
YES! If you are required to spend any of your time attending anything for the employer you are to be compensated for your time.
This includes time spent during orientation or any travel time that occurs.
Am I required to clock out when I take a break?
State wage and hour laws vary on this issue. Normally it depends on the length of your break.
The standard is a 10 minute paid break for every 4 hours worked.
Otherwise, an employer doesn’t have to pay you for breaks unless your break time is under 20 minutes or if you have to work through your break.
Do I have to pay for a work uniform out of my own pocket?
Federal wage and hour laws state that an employer can require an employee to purchase a uniform as long as they are earning at least the federal minimum wage after all expenses are deducted.
This includes requiring paid uniform cleaning services.
Can I get paid overtime?
If you don’t supervise other employees or make important decisions for your employer, and you don’t work in a job that’s ineligible for overtime, then you are probably entitled to overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in a week.
The first thing you should do is check to see if your employer is covered under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
These wage and hour laws are fairly broad, but it is likely that your employer must follow them.
The next step would be to verify if you are an exempt or non-exempt employee. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay. Nonexempt employees are.
Additionally, people who work certain kinds of jobs are not entitled to overtime at all.
- independent contractors
- outside salespeople (that is, employees who customarily and regularly work away from the employer’s business, selling or taking orders to sell goods and services)
- certain computer specialists (such as systems analysts, programmers, and software engineers) who earn at least $27.63 per hour
- employees of seasonal amusement or recreational businesses, such as ski resorts or county fairs
- newspaper deliverers
- employees who work on small farms, and
- casual domestic baby sitters and people who provide companionship to those who are unable to care for themselves (but this exception does not include those who provide nursing care, or to personal and home care aides who perform a variety of domestic services).
People around San Leandro and the Bay Area that encounter employment problems or issues with wage and hour laws should have a free consultation with a local attorney to determine your rights as an employee.
The Law Office of Daniel Weltin is highly experienced in this area of law.
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Dan Weltin was invaluable to me and helped me through a very difficult time. My ex-employer was taking advantage of me and not paying me for extra hours worked. Mr. Weltin helped me right this wrong and was able to acquire the funds owed to me, including interest and hardship costs. Mr. Weltin and his office were always very attentive to my needs and always available when I had questions needed to be answered.s.Mitchell Rios
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