Carlin & Buchsbaum, LLP
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Understanding your right to a fair wage and overtime

Do you earn an hourly wage? Unless you receive a salary, you are probably punching a time clock or logging into a computer at the start of your shift. However, did you know there are laws that require your employer to pay you fairly?

Are you certain your employer is paying you what you deserve? Unless you know your rights and understand the basics of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law that protects your right to a fair wage, you may not recognize when your employer is taking advantage of you.

Minimum pay is your right

The FLSA requires employers to pay a standard wage or more. The federal minimum wage is now $7.25, but some states, including California, require employers to offer a higher rate. Employers who fail to pay the standard minimum are in violation of state or federal law and could face serious penalties. If your pay also includes tips or commissions, you may receive a lower base amount. However, there could be ways in which your employer is getting work from you without pay.

If your employer makes you work off the clock, he or she is breaking the law and robbing you of wages you have earned. If you start work before you clock in or continue working after you clock out, you are giving your employer your time for free. A boss who makes you work during your lunch break, such as by answering the phones, is violating your rights. Your employer may not even allow you to voluntarily work off the clock.

Why worry about time off the clock?

It may not seem like much at the time, but you would be surprised how quickly that money can add up. Not only are you losing wages you have earned, but you may be losing the chance to earn overtime pay. If you work more than 40 hours in a week, you have the right to earn time and a half pay for any extra hours. If your boss is not counting the time you work off the clock, he or she is cheating you of a chance to earn more money.

If you are in such a situation where your boss is stealing your wages, you may be unsure of what to do. You can find the answers by reaching out to a skilled California employment law attorney who can guide you in reclaiming the wages you earned.

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