Wage Disputes Attorneys in Temecula, California
Before the Great Depression and the subsequent New Deal by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, most American businesses were scarcely regulated and generally free to set their own rules. California, however, was ahead of the New Deal as one of only 13 states to establish a minimum wage in advance of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938.
California continues to be among the most progressive states when it comes to wage-and-hour and other employment issues. The minimum wage stands at $15 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and $14 for those with 25 or fewer employees. By January 1, 2023, the minimum wage for all employees in California will be $15 an hour minimum. Additionally, California is more generous in its application of overtime regulations.
In short, employees in the Golden State enjoy a fairly friendly work environment in terms of wage-and-hour rules and regulations. In some cases, though, employers may overlook the rules or try to bend them to save money—and their employees then have a legal right to recover what’s due them.
If you as an employee in Southern California feel you have been cheated out of wages or overtime owed you, contact the employment law attorneys at the Law Offices of Charles P. Boylston. Likewise, if you’re an employer involved in a wage or overtime dispute with an employee, contact us immediately. We fully understand the California labor codes and stand ready to help both employees and employers exercise their rights under the law.
The Law Offices of Charles P. Boylston are proud to serve clients in Temecula, as well as the rest of Southern California, including San Diego, Riverside, Orange, and Los Angeles counties.
Wage & Hour Laws: Exempt
& Nonexempt Employees
The bedrock of federal wage-and-hour laws is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which established a minimum wage, set the workweek at 40 hours within a seven-day period, mandated overtime pay at time-and-one-half an employee’s hourly wage for work done past 40 hours, and more.
The FLSA also created a class of workers who are called exempt—in other words, professionals who are paid a salary or commission and thus not subject to overtime. Only non-exempt workers —those who are paid hourly—are owed overtime pay. California and other states follow this standard of exempt and nonexempt employees as well.
In the Golden State, if you work more than eight hours in a day, you are owed time-and-a-half overtime if you’re a non-exempt employee. If you work past 12 hours, you are owed double time. Overtime is also due for any hours you work on a seventh consecutive day in a workweek, time-and-a-half for the first eight hours, and double time after that.
Rest & Lunch Breaks in California
In California, the state regulates employment standards through what are called work orders, which are specific to every major industry. This makes understanding the requirements for rest and lunch breaks a little confusing, but generally speaking, non-exempt employees are entitled to a paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked.
If you work at least 3.5 hours in a day, you are entitled to one rest break. If you work over 6 hours, you are entitled to a second rest break.
Nonexempt employees are also entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal break for every five hours they work. If they work 10 hours, they are entitled to another meal break, but they can choose to waive it provided they took the earlier meal break on time.
What Constitutes Overtime?
Employers in California are required to pay overtime even if they are unaware that an employee, for example, decided to stay late to finish a project. The burden is thus on employers to have overtime policies in place, train their employees on the standards expected, and supervise the use of overtime by nonexempt employees.
In this day and age of techno-driven workforces, it’s not uncommon for employees to work from home. For both employer and employee, however, having Internet access can become a double-edged sword.
Suppose your boss contacts you via email or phone while you’re at home after a full day of work and has an urgent question for you. The conversation takes a half-hour. You may be entitled to overtime pay. Likewise, if you’re asked to take a project home and finish it in time for a meeting the next morning, any time you spend on that project is compensable.
Ultimately, employers in California need to be proactive in managing hours worked for nonexempt employees. You can be on the hook for overtime even if you never authorized it, so you need to have sound and well-publicized overtime policies at work—and then enforce them. Employees also need to be aware of their rights under California’s wage-and-hour laws and regulations. You may be cheated out of what’s owed you without even realizing it.
Wage Disputes Attorneys
Serving Temecula, California
If you as an employee or employer are involved in a wage or overtime dispute in or around Temecula, California, contact the Law Offices of Charles P. Boylston as soon as possible. Our team will review your situation with you and advise you of your best options for resolution. Allow an attorney to help you move past the dispute and create a more favorable environment moving forward.