This blog is a continuation of the Employment Law FAQ series. Click on the links to read Part 1 and Part 2.

What Are California’s Requirements for Wages, Overtime Pay, Breaks, and Vacation?

Whether you’re working by the hour, by commission, or by piece rate, your employer must pay you at least the equivalent of the California minimum wage ($10 an hour in 2016). Also, you must receive a paycheck at least twice a month (though there are few exceptions). Payday intervals must be regular, reasonable, and established in advance.

Unless you are exempt from overtime, you must be paid one and one-half times your regular rate for all hours worked in excess of eight hours up to and including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek. If you work more than 12 hours in a workday or more than eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek, then you must be paid double your regular rate for the excess time.

Under California law, all non-exempt employees are entitled to an unpaid 30-minute lunch break if they work more than five hours in a workday, as well as a 10 minute paid rest break for every four hours worked.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not mandatory for employers to provide vacations, holidays, or sick time. If you are given vacation time, your employer can dictate through policy when you can and cannot use it. If you leave a job with unused vacation time, the leftover hours must be converted to wages and included in your final paycheck.

The rules for sick leave are different. Unlike unused vacation time, you are not entitled to payment for unused sick leave when you leave a job. However, you may use up to half of your sick leave to care for an ill child, spouse, or parent. For additional time off, you may take an unpaid family medical leave, provided that you meet certain conditions under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You also could qualify for partially paid time off under California’s Paid Family Care Leave Act.

Can My Employer Deduct Money from My Paycheck?

In most cases, no. However, your employer could deduct money from your wages for:

  • Tax withholdings or union dues;
  • Losses due to an act of gross negligence or an act that was dishonest or willful; or
  • Payments that you authorized and that is for your benefit.

Even if you are indebted to your employer, he or she cannot take the debt from your final paycheck in one lump sum. However, he or she can sue you in small claims court or superior court.

Best Employment Lawyers in California

If you have experienced unfair treatment at the workplace, call Wilshire Law Firm today at (213) 805-8549. We can provide you with a full understanding of your rights and best legal options in a FREE consultation.