Employee Rights No Fees Unless We Win
An employer must pay an employee at least the minimum wage. The right cannot be waived by an agreement with the employer or by a collective bargaining agreement. See Cal Lab Code §§ 219, 1194. Starting January 1, 2021, the minimum wage for California is $14 per hour if your employer has 26 or more employees, and $13 per hour if your employer has less than 26 employees. Cal. Labor Code § 1182.12. The federal minimum wage presently is $7.25 per hour. 29 U.S.C.S. § 206.
If "an employer discharges an employee, the wages earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due and payable immediately." Cal Lab Code § 201. If an employee, without a written employment contract for a definite period, "quits … his or her wages shall become due and payable not later than 72 hours thereafter, unless the employee has given 72 hours previous notice of his or her intention to quit, in which case the employee is entitled to his or her wages at the time of quitting." Cal Lab Code § 202. If the employer "willfully fails to pay" any wages, the wages "shall continue as a penalty from the due date thereof at the same rate until paid or until an action therefor is commenced; but the wages shall not continue for more than 30 days." Cal Lab Code § 203.
If your employer requires you to do work-related activities before you clock in for a shift or after you clock out, or if your employer does not pay you based on the precise point in time when you clock in and out, your employer may have failed to pay you minimum wage. Please see our Employer's Failure To Pay For All Hours Worked and Compensation for Being On-Call, Time Spent Putting on Safety Gear, and Training Programs pages. These issues are complicated so feel free to contact the top wage and hour lawyers and Kokozian Law Firm, APC.Credits Against Minimum Wage
For an employer to credit meals and/or lodging against the minimum wage paid to the employee, there needs to be a voluntary written agreement between the employer and the employee. California Department of Industrial Relations Minimum Wage Order MW-2019.
As of January 1, 2020, the maximum an employer with 26 or more employees can credit lodging against the wage is:
- $61.13 per week for a room occupied alone.
- $50.46 per week for a room that is shared.
If it is an apartment occupied alone then 2/3 of the ordinary rental value of the apartment and no more than $734.21 per month.
If a couple are employed by the employer and share the apartment, then 2/3 the ordinary rental value of the apartment and no more than $1086.07 per month. California Department of Industrial Relations Minimum Wage Order MW-2019.
The maximum an employer with 26 or more employees can credit meals against the wage is:
- $4.70 for breakfast.
- $6.47 for lunch.
- $8.68 for dinner.
Employers or agents shall not "collect, take, or receive any gratuity" or deduct any gratuity amount from an employee's wages, that has been given, paid, or left for an employee. Cal Lab Code § 351.
Employees are entitled to one day off in a seven-day work week. Cal Lab Code § 551. This does not apply to employees who work no more than 30 hours a week or six hours in one day. Cal Lab Code § 556.Employees Rights to Inspect and Receive a Copy of their Employment Records
Current and former employees have a "right to inspect or receive a copy of records pertaining to their employment, upon reasonable request to the employer." Cal Lab Code § 226. Employers who receive "a written or oral request to inspect or receive a copy of records.....pertaining to a current or former employee shall comply with the request as soon as practicable, but no later than 21 calendar days from the date of the request." Cal Lab Code § 226. Failure "by an employer to permit a current or former employee to inspect or receive a copy of records" within 21 days, "entitles the current or former employee or the Labor Commissioner to recover" a $750 penalty from the employer. Cal Lab Code § 226.