The California Labor Code provides various protections to employees, including the right to overtime for certain employees, as well as and meal and rest periods. All of these elements may be included in unpaid wages claims.
Rights to overtime compensation, meal, and rest periods depend on whether the employee is a non-exempt employee. While the test of whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt is complicated, most exempt employees are relatively highly-paid executives, professionals and administrative employees who exercise independent judgment and discretion. Some computer professionals and salespeople are also exempt. Most other employees, including most hourly workers, are non-exempt. Being paid a salary and the job title of "manager" does not mean an employee is exempt. The exempt vs. non-exempt inquiry involves analysis of actual job duties and whether the employee is paid at least two times the minimum wage for full time employment.
Overtime compensation must be paid to non-exempt employees who work more than 8 hours during any workday, or more than 40 hours during any workweek. California law provides that the employee shall be paid 1.5 times his or her regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight hours, up to and including 12 hours during a single workday, or for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work. For any time worked in excess of 12 hours during a single workday, or for any time worked in excess of 8 hours on the seventh consecutive day of work during a workweek, an employee must be paid double their regular rate of pay.
Meal and Rest Periods must be provided to non-exempt employees. Under California law, non-exempt employees are entitled to a 10 minute rest break for every four hours worked. These employees must also be given a meal break of at least 30 minutes for any work period of more than 5 hours during a workday. During a rest or meal period, employees must be relieved of all job duties.
In addition, the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) permits employees to recover penalties for violations of many laws concerning overtime, meal periods, rest periods, misclassification as independent contractors, among many others.
Kelley•Semmel, LLP has extensive experience concerning these laws. We are available to assist employers to comply with the wage and hour laws. Our unpaid wages lawyers have assisted scores of employees to recover their unpaid wages, overtime and penalties. Contact Kelley•Semmel, LLP today to see if we can be of assistance to you.