When you were in school, you probably looked forward to lunch and recess more than any other part of the day. Even if you enjoyed your classes and your teachers, having a break at some point of the day gave you time to sit with your friends, refuel with some food and take a few minutes to relax.
Recent news stories have talked about how the gender pay gap has not changed much in the last 20 years, citing the statistic that women generally earn 80 cents for each dollar earned by a man. If this fact wasn't disappointing enough, a new study from the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) now shows that over the long term, women only make about 49 cents for every man's dollar.
Many people think that earning an income works by getting a job, becoming an employee and earning a wage. However, that type of scenario does not apply to every situation. Some people choose to work as independent contractors and some employers insist that certain of their workers provide their labor as independent contractors.
In 1963, the U.S. government enacted a law that regulates employers. Whether you work for a privately owned company, a state government agency or the federal government, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) protects you.
You may see that title and think, "What meal break?" If that's the case, then you may want to keep reading. It's possible that you should be getting a meal break but your employer is denying it.
It is understandable that your employer wants to find ways to save money. After all, any waste comes out of its profits. Your boss likely has protocol in place for inventory and may purchase generic office supplies or buy in bulk. Unfortunately, such a frugal manager may also be reluctant to allow you to work beyond your 40 hours because that would mean paying you overtime.
Whether you punch a clock, log in on a computer or complete a time sheet, your time is valuable. You know that an extra minute can mean the difference between gaining or losing a quarter-hour of pay. You may also know that logging more than 40 hours a week means you will receive extra pay for overtime.
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.
Because working long hours can take a considerable toll on anyone, you certainly appreciate a break now and then. However, you may sometimes feel as if you do not have the ability to take breaks due to the fast-paced nature of your job or due to discouragement from your employer. If you feel uncertain about your ability to take a moment to catch your breath while on the job, you may have an interest in this area of employment law.
As a California worker, you have certain rights. Federal and California laws entitle many employees to overtime pay and also prohibit certain unfair labor practices such as "working off the clock". If you find yourself in this situation, you could have various legal options available to you. In some cases, you may have grounds to join in a wage and hour class action lawsuit.