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Are you having a wage and hour problem at work?

Federal law requires employers to pay their hourly workers at least $7.25 per hour. Most states, including California have their own minimum wages set, with this state being at the high end of the scale at $11.00 per hour. Before you obtain gainful employment in this or any other state, you'll likely want to research current wage and hour laws.  

If you've already been working at a particular company for some time and think your employer may be violating your labor rights, you may want to discuss the situation with someone well versed in state labor laws. The bottom line is that your employer must compensate you according to the law if you work more than eight hours in a single day or 40 hours in a specific week.  

What else does California law require of your employer? 

Do you remember that recent day when things were rather busy at the office and your boss told everyone to work straight through their lunch hours? Perhaps you hesitated to say anything because you didn't want to cause a stir. Since there have been several other similar incidents beyond that day, you now wonder whether you have sufficient grounds to file a complaint. The following information may help you determine an answer: 

  • If you work more than five hours in a row, your employer must allow you take a half hour break for lunch. He or she does not have to pay you for the time.  
  • If you happen to work in the film industry, your employer may keep you working for six consecutive hours before allowing you a meal break.  
  • An employer may not retaliate against a worker who insists on getting a meal break to which he or she is entitled.  
  • In addition to time off for eating, any time you put in four hours of labor, your employer must provide you with a 10-minute break.  
  • California overtime pay regulations state that you receive time and a half for working more than eight hours in a day and double pay for working more than 12 hours in a single day.  

If you bring a wage or hour issue to your employer's attention, but the problem remains unresolved, you can seek outside support to protect your rights. As a good worker, you no doubt try to cooperate and compromise as needed, to maximize productivity and function as a valuable member of your company's team. That doesn't mean your employer can deviate from set regulations pertaining to wage and hour laws.  

Employers who violate such laws often face fines or other penalties, and such situations sometimes lead to litigation, especially if workers attempt to resolve their problems through the proper channels of communication on the job and are unable to achieve satisfactory results.

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