Understanding Employee Compensation Laws

employee compensation laws in california

When it comes to compensation, there are often many questions regarding how and when an employee is required to be compensated. Topics like straight time, overtime, and double time can sometimes be confusing, but it is important for an employer to ensure employees are always properly compensated.

Straight Time Pay

Straight time is the amount of money an employee receives for working a regular number of hours within a given pay period. Straight time is calculated by multiplying the total number of hours worked in a pay period by the regular rate of pay. For example, if an employee makes $25 an hour and works 30 hours in a week, the straight time pay would be $750. The Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) caps the straight time hours for a work week at 40 hours.

Overtime Pay

Any work a non-exempt employee performs beyond 40 hours in a given week or beyond 8 hours in a day is considered overtime. All employees must have a regular rate of pay, and this rate of pay is used to determine overtime. Overtime is calculated by multiplying the regular rate of pay by 1.5. If, for example, an employee’s regular rate of pay is $25 an hour, the overtime would be $37.50 an hour. It is unlawful for an employer to compensate an employee at the regular rate of pay for work performed beyond 40 hours in a week, or 8 hours in a day.

Double Time Pay (California Specific)

California has additional standards for a rate of pay called double time. Any work a non-exempt employee performs beyond 12 hours in a workday or beyond 8 hours on the seventh day of consecutive work is considered double time. Double time is calculated by multiplying the regular rate of pay by 2. If an employee’s regular rate of pay is $25 an hour, double time would be $50 an hour.

Final Payment Requirements

In California, an employer is also required provide an employee with full payment of all wages due at the time of discharge. If an employer fails to provide final payment of all wages due at the time of discharge, the employee may be entitled to continued wages until payment is received (up to 30 days). Additionally, an employer cannot mail the employee’s final payment to the employee without prior authorization. If an employer mails an employee’s final payment to the employee’s home and the payment is not received by the employee, it is considered unpaid.

Ensuring Compliance with Labor Laws

Employers are required to follow all federal and state labor laws when determining how to properly compensate employees. A general overview of employer requirements can be found here.

If you believe you have not been properly compensated for your time, we can help. At TONG LAW, we are experienced at helping employees enforce their rights. Contact our wage and hour dispute lawyers today.

Author Bio

Vincent Tong

Vincent Tong is the CEO and Managing Partner of TONG LAW, a business and employment law firm located in Oakland, CA. Vincent is a fierce advocate for employees facing discrimination and wrongful termination. With several successful jury trial victories and favorable settlements, he has earned a strong reputation for delivering exceptional results for his clients.

In addition, Vincent provides invaluable counsel to businesses, guiding them on critical matters such as formation and governance, regulatory compliance, and protection of intellectual property assets. His depth of experience allows him to anticipate risks, devise strategies to avoid legal pitfalls, and empower clients to pursue their goals confidently.

Vincent currently serves as the 2021 President of the Board of Directors for the Alameda County Bar Association and sits on the Executive Board for the California Employment Lawyers Association. Recognized for outstanding skills and client dedication, he has consecutively earned the Super Lawyers’ Rising Star honor since 2015, reserved for the top 2.5% of attorneys. He also received the Distinguished Service Award for New Attorney from the Alameda County Bar Association in 2016. He is licensed to practice before all California state courts and the United States District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of California.

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