As an employee in California, you have rights regarding payment for your work hours. However, wage and hour issues can arise in any industry, and knowing what to do is crucial if you’re not getting paid for all of the time you’ve worked.
Employment rules for paying employees
In California, employers must pay employees for all hours worked, including overtime, if applicable. This includes time spent on the job, as well as time spent preparing for work or waiting to begin work. If your employer causes wage and hour issues by failing to pay you for all of the hours you’ve worked, you have a few options.
Options for resolving payment issues
First, you can speak to your employer directly and resolve the issue informally. This may involve bringing up the discrepancy in pay and asking for an explanation or a correction. In many cases, employers may be unaware of the issue and may be willing to correct it.
If speaking with your employer doesn’t resolve the issue, you can file a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). This free service is to help employees in recovering unpaid wages, penalties and interest. A claim can be filed online, by mail or in person at a DLSE office.
Penalty payments for hours of non-payment
In California, you may be entitled to a penalty if you do not receive payment for all the hours you worked. This penalty is equal to one hour of pay at your regular rate for each workday of non-payment for all work hours up to a maximum of 30 days. This penalty is separate from any wages your employer owes and can add up quickly if you’ve been underpaid for an extended period.
Time is limited for action
It’s important to note that there are time limits for filing a wage claim with the DLSE. In California, you generally have three years from the date of the underpayment to file a claim. If you wait too long, you may lose the right to recover your unpaid wages and penalties.
There are options
It can be frustrating and stressful if you’re not getting paid for all the hours you’ve worked. However, knowing that you have options and can take action to recover your pay is essential. By speaking to your employer and filing a wage claim with the DLSE, you can work towards a resolution and ensure fair treatment and fair payment of wages for the time you put in on the job.