• Posted By Sirmabekian
  • 2022

The primary purpose of wage and hour laws is to shield workers from exploitation. While most employers obey the law, there are those that try to engage in wage and hour laws violation, usually to save money. This is why it is so important to know your rights as an employee, that way your employer won’t be able to take advantage of you.

What are Non-Exempt Employees?

Most California employees are non-exempt, meaning that they are paid hourly. However, salaried employees might also be included. Most hourly wage laws do not apply to independent contractors (who work freelance) or exempt employees that perform administrative, executive or professional work.

What are Some of the Most Common Hour/Wage Violations?

Common hour/wage violations include things such as:

  • Asking employees to perform off clock: Some unscrupulous employers might wait for their employees to clock or punch out before asking them to do additional work. This is absolutely illegal, and you are within your right to deny such requests. If your boss fires you because of it, they could be subject to a wrongful termination suit.
  • Not offering minimum wage: Every non-exempt worker in California should be paid minimum wage. Some employers will try to get around this by hiring undocumented immigrants or informing employees that tips and various other forms of compensation apply to their minimum wage (it doesn’t).
  • Not allowing rest or meal breaks: Employees are supposed to be given a thirty minute break for every five hours they work. During these rest periods, employers should not request any type of work and assistance, and if they do, employees have the right to deny the request.
  • Not providing overtime: Any employee that is asked to work more than eight hours a day should be given overtime, but some employers try to get around it by transferring additional hours into the following week or “forgetting” to pay it.

Independent Contractors

A lot of businesses, especially the smaller ones, do not like dealing with things such as payroll tax, overtime or minimum wages. One of the ways they try to get around this is by categorizing the people that work for them as independent contractors rather than employees, because the distinction can save them a lot of time and money.

However, it is important to understand the difference between an employee and independent contractor. Most independent contractors are not paid by the hour. Instead, they will be paid a lump sum for a specific job once it has been completed. For example, a company might hire a programmer to develop an app for them.

Rather than paying a wage for each hour they work, they’d pay them a lump sum once the job is completed. Other examples of independent contractors include artists, writers and musicians. Employees, by contrast, usually work within a specific location where they perform various tasks for a certain number of hours a day, and might interact with customers directly. Examples include bank tellers, waiters and receptionists. These individuals are paid hourly and are thus eligible for minimum wage, overtime, double time and rest breaks.

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