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Labor Law Headaches for Employers

Attention small business owners and sole proprietors; California Labor Law will knock down your door and take no prisoners. The biggest headaches for employers are overtime wages meal breaks/rest breaks, pay period and pay check itemization, and classification of employees. Employees rush to the court house and the Labor Department when violations occur and violations are costly. What should you know.

Labor Code Section 512: California Labor Laws protect the rights of California employees to receive overtime pay for working more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week and at the rate of one and half times. For example, Ted is paid $10 dollars per hour. He works 2 hours over time. His rate of pay is $15 dollars for the 2 hours who worked over time.
Employers must pay overtime, whether the employee was asked to work over time or not.

Labor Code Section 204 : Overtime wages must be paid no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period after which the overtime wages were earned

Labor Code Section 203, 201, 202: Not paying over time properly will result in waiting time penalty. This is the daily rate x 30 days.

Labor Code Section 510 and 558: if an employer fails to pay overtime owed, a penalty of $50.00 per pay period for the first offence and $100.00 per pay period for each violation thereafter.

Labor Code Section 218.6 and Civil Code 3289: The court can award interest at the rate of 10 percent annum according from the date the wages were due and payable.

NEVER PAY CASH FOR OVERTIME! NEVER! Cash is great for buying your child ice cream. Never pay cash to employees. If you do, give a receipt, itemize, and keep records.

Industrial Welfare Commission Orders and Labor Code Section 512: 5 hours or more, 30 minutes for lunch break.
If employees work during lunch, employers pay them for that time. On duty meal period is permitted when the job calls for it.

Employees can not work through their lunch period so they can leave early…discourage it.

You want to be the lord of the middle ages and sneak employees past meal breaks, look at Labor Code 226.7, the penalty is paying your employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each and separate and definable meal break.

Give employees 10 minute rest breaks should be given every 4 hours of time worked.

Labor Code 226: .7 (a); Every employer shall, semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages, furnish each of his or her employees, either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee’s wages, or separately when wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized statement in writing showing (1) gross wages earned, (2) total hours worked by the employee, except for any employee whose compensation is solely based on a salary and who is exempt from payment of overtime under subdivision (a) of Section 515 or any applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, (3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis, (4) all deductions, provided that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item, (5) net wages earned, (6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid, (7) the name of the employee and his or her social security number, except that by January 1, 2008, only the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number may be shown on the itemized statement, (8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer, and (9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee. The deductions made from payments of wages shall be recorded in ink or other indelible form, properly dated, showing the month, day, and year, and a copy of the statement or a record of the deductions shall be kept on file by the employer for at least three years at the place of employment or at a central location within the State of California.

Labor Code 226: .7 (a); NO Itemization: all actual damages or fifty dollars ($50) for the initial pay period in which a violation occurs and one hundred dollars ($100) per employee for each violation in a subsequent pay period, not exceeding an aggregate penalty of four thousand dollars ($4,000), and is entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

A good labor attorney can assess your labor problems and help you maintain a work environment for your employees that is in compliance.