1. Minimum wage: Currently, the minimum wage is $9 per hour. On January 1, 2016, the minimum wage will increase to $10 per hour. Employees must be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked.
2. Overtime hours: Typically employees must be paid 1 1/2 times their regular rate of pay for all hours over 8 in a day and over 40 in a week. If an employee's compensation varies (i.e. part commission/part hourly), the regular rate for overtime purposes will be the average of those wages.
3. "Exempt" employees: Just because an employee is paid a salary or classified as "exempt" does not necessarily mean an employee is not entitled to overtime compensation. The type of work an employee performs, their compensation, and a variety of other factors can determine whether an employee is properly classified as exempt.
4. Independent contractors: To determine if a worker is properly classified as an independent contractor, California law evaluates a number of factors. The primary consideration is the amount of control the principal possesses over the manner and means in which a worker performs job duties.
5. Double time: Typically employees must be paid double their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of 8 hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in a single workweek.
6. Travel time: An employer must compensate its employees for all travel time while under the employer's control. An employer must begin paying an employee once the employee arrives at the first location the employer required the employee's presence. If an employee is required to travel to a location other than the employee's regular place of business, the employer must pay the employee his/her hourly rate for any time spent in excess of the employee's regular commuting time.
7. Meal and rest breaks: An employee must be given a 30 minute uninterrupted meal break within the employee's first five hours of work. If the employee is not relieved of all duties, the employee must be paid for that time. An employee must also be provided a 10 minute rest break for every four hours of work.
8. Hours worked: Employers must pay their employees for all hours worked. This includes time spent outside of regular work hours, including time spent responding to work related emails or telephone calls. Compensation for such time is only required if the employer knew or should have known the employee was performing work outside of regular work hours.
9. Wage statements: Semimonthly, employers must issue itemized wage statements to their employees. The statements must accurately provide the number of hours worked, the rate of pay, the net and gross wages, and itemize all deductions.
It is a violation of California law for an employer to terminate or take any adverse employment action against an employee for making a complaint regarding an employer's unlawful wage and hour practices. Wage and hour law can be complex and very fact specific. It is advisable to consult with an attorney before an employee makes a complaint or an employer alters their employment practices.