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FAQ’s About Holidays

holidays

Although both the state and federal laws recognize ten holidays in the United States, workers are not guaranteed to be given days off or even get extra pay for working. Many businesses such as gas stations, restaurants, movie theaters, stores, manufacturers, and distributors remain open on holidays, and thus workers are required.

Working on recognized holidays raise several disturbing questions among California employers, such as:

  • Is it mandatory to get holiday time off? 

No. There is no law in California requiring private companies to close their business on any specific days in order to provide days off to the employees. However, an employment policy or a collective bargaining agreement can grant certain holidays benefits, including a paid unpaid time off.

Besides, many employees tend to either close their business or allow some employees to have the day off during some these holidays. But the law recognizes the need of one day rest in seven working days, and you should get overtime pay in the case that you work with more than six days in a row.

  • Is the employer required to pay for time off during holidays, or pay additional wages to employees who work on holidays?

The law does not mandate California employers to give any special rate of pay to work completed on holidays, nor does it require them to pay for the time off. However, most private employers voluntarily agree to provide extra wages to employees for working on holidays as well as paid time off for certain holidays with the aim of boosting employee morale.

But again, only a CBA or employee policy can govern such terms since California statute does not mandate them. Therefore, it is important for both employees and employers to ensure that holiday pay policies are set forth clearly.

  • Is the calculation of overtime affected by a holiday pay?

When determining the overtime worked in a week, the employer will not include the holiday pay for a time off in determining the pay rate because it not a payment for hours worked. For instance, if a business is closed on a Monday holiday and then the employees go on to work from Tuesday through Saturday, eight hours each day, they should expect the standard time rate to apply when getting paid for the work.

In this case, the employer may decide to pay for the day off, thus paying for 48 hours in that week. As a result, employees may be tempted to think that the employer should pay the extra eight hours at the overtime rate. However, the employer is required to determine the overtime pay based on hours worked rather than the pay received.

Overtime and Exemptions in California

overtime

In California laws, overtime is regarded as any hours performed over 8 hours in one day or forty hours during a week. There is an exemption to this law if the organization has instituted a bona fide alternative work week where you usually work ten hour days, four days per week.

 

In such cases, the overtime is after ten hours in place of 8, and also after 40 hours during the week. This particular alternative work week has to meet certain requirements, and it may not end up being carried out using a person by person basis.

If you don’t fit in an Exemption, California regulations put it clear that all of the hours worked above eight on a daily basis or 40 in a 7-day period or worked on the seventh consecutive day of a new work 7-day period get paid and times an employee’s regular rate of pay.

 

Furthermore, hours worked above 12 in a day or hours over eight worked on the 7th consecutive day in a 7-day period will be paid at two times the employee’s daily rate of pay.

People not covered by California overtime laws

Job opportunities that can be Exempt from California’s overtime laws and regulations:

1. Commissioned marketing employees of the retail industry, as well as services corporations if over fifty percent of the worker’s wages are derived from commissions as well as the staff, average a minimum of one and one-half times the actual minimum wage for each hour the employee worked.

2. Computer programmers that are compensated at least $37.94 for each hour worked (this represents the 2009 minimum amount hourly condition – it adjusts each year). They must carry out work that may be intellectual or even innovative as well as the exercise involving discretion and independent judgment.

3. Executive, management, professional like actors and even some journalists, or outside marketing staff members.

4. Union staff members who are protected by a collective bargaining agreement providing you with premium salary rates for every overtime hours worked by union staff members.

Can you be made to work overtime? 

Yes, an employer can decide to make the employees work more than the stipulated time. In this case, the employer can use means like termination as a way of punishment if the employee refuses to work

What to do if not paid for overtime?

In situations where the employer may refuse to pay you the overtime wages, one can file a wage claim or even a lawsuit against the employer responsible so that you can recover your lost wages.

What next?

If it happens that you have worked for overtime and you have not been given your wages, you can contact an overtime attorney. Overtime lawyers are people who have specialized in ensuring that their clients get their full paycheck in every week depending on the agreement between the employer and the employee.

 

They will fight for you and ensure that you get what you deserve. In our current economy, every penny matters. Time is precious and for that reason, you have to ensure you get the most out of what you do. You can claim overtime if not paid for up to four years back.

Reporting Time Pay and The Waiting Time Penalty

waiting time penalty

It is wise to understand the meaning of waiting time penalty before taking any job offer. It is common to report to work expecting a specific salary only to get less because of being deprived the amount of work. Inadequate work can result from lack of proper notice or inadequate scheduling among other reasons. The excess actual hour’s one works are normally not included in the reporting time pay.

 

However, there are certain requirements when it comes to reporting pay. You have to understand these requirements in order to relate well with your employees. This article has outlined some of the requirements to enable you to get informed.

 

Expectations
Employees are expected to report to work on a daily basis as stated by the firm. However, there are cases where the employee has no work or ends up doing half or even less of the work he or she is expected to do on a normal day. The employee in question has to get half the amount he or she is supposed to earn for a usual work day.

 

For example, if one is expected to work for six-hour shift and he or she only works for two hours, the firm is expected to pay him or her three hours of the day in reference to a regular day at work. Two hours for working and two hours in terms of reporting time. As much as he has worked only for two hours the rest of the time is also counted as hours worked under this case.

 

Rules

The rules are not applied in the event of the following; when operations in the firm cannot start or go one because of threats from property or employer. It is also not applicable if civil authorities will recommend the job to start or begin at the said time.

In essence, reporting time pay can simply be defined as the partial compensation an employee gets for reporting to his or her work place while anticipating to work for certain duration only to be deprived of work because of various reasons.

 

The reasons should result from the part of the employer. The same case applies if you are expected to work for a certain duration during the second shift only to be given fewer hours as a result of factors out of your control. Whether the reason has been caused by the employer or property, one deserves to be paid the same.

Pregnancy Leave Laws in California

pregnancy leave

California laws provide the greatest level of job protection and partially paid leave for pregnancy leave of any state in the US. California has the most complete sets of laws protecting women during pregnancy leave.

One law gives California women a needed extra benefit over its federal counterpart. The California Family Rights Act provides significantly longer job protection in the event of pregnancy complications, followed by an extended maternity leave for military persons. Should this situation arise, the extended job protection will be welcome.
Where California Ranks
Employees beginning in a new business must be informed of the California labor laws. This is a must. Understand, the state of California has a reputation of being one of the most stringent employment law enforcers in the US, so they don’t take the subject lightly. Hiring legal counsel might even be a smart idea so you can avoid employer liability and legal claims in the future.

One of the most complex areas of labor laws that you ought to understand is the special leaves. On top of the regular leave policies offered by the federal government, the employment law in California has also enacted a few other types of special leaves that employees can benefit from. It is important that you learn about what these special leaves are to properly address issues of absence in the workplace among your employees, whatever the reason may be.

The general legislation in California is that all businesses with fifty or more employees should provide their workers with two primary leave benefits: the California Family Rights Act or CFRA and the Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA. To preserve your employment rights and to ensure that your employees get the benefits they deserve, here is a quick guide into the special leaves that your workers are entitled to:

California’s Pregnancy Leave Laws Explored

When one of your employees get pregnant, they are entitled to pregnancy leave. This is a traditional type of leave employed all over the United States but there are special clauses to the implementation of this law in California.

All businesses or companies with at least five employees should provide a maximum of four months leave to all pregnant employees. This leave policy covers intermittent leave for a few days before or after giving birth. During her return to work, it is important that the employee retains the same or nearly the same position as she previously held before availing of her leave.

Know all pregnancy leave laws in California laws and you may just avoid a serious infraction in the future.

Intoxication in the Workplace

intoxication in the workplace

If you suspect that any employees of intoxication in the workplace, whether it be of alcohol or drugs, then you should handle the situation very carefully. It would be best to seek legal help in such a case. An employment law attorney will be able to help you out in this regard.
What to Do as An Employer
As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide a safe working environment to all of your employees. Hence, the first thing which you should do is relieve him or her from his duties temporarily until further investigation is done. You don’t have to say anything in detail to the employee. You just have to mention that he/she has been relieved of his duties because he is unable to work effectively.

Once he has been relieved of his duties, you need to escort him to a separate private room for further questions. There may be several reasons why he is under the influence of alcohol. Maybe he is suffering from health issues.

 

Should I Take Legal Action?

As an employer, it is your responsibility to find out the exact reason why he is under the influence of drugs and accordingly proceed further. In some cases, the employee also admits to taking alcohol or drugs. If it is a prescribed drug, then no further actions should be taken against the employee. However, if it is an illegal drug, then termination of employment will be the likely solution unless there are some special reasons.
Can I Drug Test?
You should also make sure that the employee is showing signs of intoxication. As per the law, an employer can send an employee for a drug test only if there is a reasonable suspicion that he is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 

For example, if there is a smell of alcohol coming from his breath or if his eyes are bloodshot, then you may send him for a drug test. If the test results are positive, then you will have to terminate his contract. You can also terminate him if he is unwilling to go for a drug test.

 

However, you have to inform the employee before about the substances which he will be tested for.

In order to deal with intoxication in the workplace cases, you have to be very attentive. Each case generally needs a different analysis. And there are several complex rules and regulations. If you don’t follow the rules and take some action against the employee which is outside the scope of the law, then you can also fall into trouble.

Racial Harassment in the Workplace

racial harassment

What’s Racial Harassment?

Racial harassment is simply a kind of behavior that occurs when an individual or a group uses discriminatory remarks or practices in a repetitive manner. Basically, the remarks or practices are supposed to discriminate a person basing on his/her color, culture, religion, language or decent so that the behavior can be considered racial harassment.

Some of the Examples of Racial Harassment Include:

  • Showing a co-worker comic strips, images or pictures which are racially degrading.
  • Trying to stop or hinder a person from being promoted simply because he or she belongs to a particular culture or religion.
  • Making jokes, humiliating comments, racially oriented remarks or insinuations to a person or co-worker.

What are Some of the Consequences Associated with Racial Harassment?

  1. How it Affects the Victim

An individual who turns out to be a victim of racial harassment will most likely feel hurt, humiliated and outraged. He/she will feel rejected in the long run and often fail to carry out his or her daily chores in a professional manner. This is simply because there are invisible barriers trying to hinder his or her performance.

  1. How the Witnesses Inside the Workplace are Affected

Racial harassment can be rampant, and it can end up deteriorating the work environment as a whole. Generally, the colleagues of the victim of racial harassment may end up feeling uneasy and eventually lose interest in certain tasks they are entitled to handle in the organization.

When this form of discrimination is caused by a group of people that intend to make life unbearable to a particular person, racial harassment can lead to confrontation, hate, or even physical violence.

  1. How Does It Impact the Organization?

If the organization fails to handle harassment cases in due time, it might end up suffering losses of employees as people may end up resigning or losing interest in their jobs. It may make the organization incur huge losses if not corrected immediately.

What are Some of the Measures to Put into Action to Stop Racial Harassment in an Organization?

  • Written or oral reprimand or warning
  • Reassignment or transfer
  • Demotion
  • Reduction of wages
  • Discharge
  • Suspension

 

What are Legal Consequences of Racial Discrimination?

Prosecution processes and fines are applied when workplace discrimination occurs. Normally, this may happen when discrimination fails to be addressed properly by the company officials. When an employer is found guilty of causing discriminatory remarks, he/she may be required to pay fines or even face a jail term.

 

Full Overview of 401k Retirement Savings Plan

401k plan

A 401k savings plan, often referred to as only 401k, represents a retirement savings plan that is provided to an employee by their employers. Basically, this plan allows the employees to save and then invest a small part of their paycheck before the government owned taxes are deducted from it. With the 401k plan, the same taxes are paid only when the funds saved are withdrawn from the savings account.

 

Where Did 401k’s Come From?

To fully understand this overview of 401k plan, it is important to understand the plan’s name. It comes from the section in of the tax code that was designed to govern them and which came about in the 1980s with the purpose of providing a supplement to the employees’ pension.

 

During this period, the cost of running pensions skyrocketed, which is why employers started looking for an alternative. Today, many of those who work on a job that comes with a strong union if they have a government position, they are still most likely eligible for a pension. But, for practically all others, the 401k plan has been introduced as a replacement to pensions.

 

With it, the employees have a degree of control how their money is being invested. Most plans do this by spreading out the money through funds that include bonds, stock, and market investment.

 

One of the most used forms of investment are the target-date funds, which are a combination of bonds and stocks that that gradually become more and more conservative as an employee comes nearer their retirement. At the same time, every overview of 401k has to acknowledge that these plans come with many restrictions.

 

For most of them, getting to the employer’s contribution will not come immediately. Companies usually ask for a certain period of continuous employment before employees can gain access to a 401k plan.

 

There are also insurance clauses against the prospect of the employee leaving before a certain time period. Also, there are rules that govern when and how an employee can withdraw money and what are the penalties that come with these withdrawals.

 

When it comes to the process of overseeing the accounts, employers usually decide to hire outside administrators who also assist employees with their individual plans. An important part of the overview of 401k plan is the issue of how much should be put into it.

 

How to Utilize Your 401k

The general idea is to pay into it as much as possible, but the most widely used amount is 3% of the employee’s salary. There is a simple reason for this fact: any amount being paid into the plan is then matched by the company, but in most cases, this is true only as long as the payments do not go over 3%.

 

At the same time, the IRS also mandates the limits of the 401k plan contribution. As of 2008, the maximal amount that can be paid is $15,500, which goes to $20,500 for persons older than 49 years.

 

These savings plans can have a beneficiary who inherits the money in the case of the passing of the employee.

 

Lastly, for this overview of 401k, it is important to know that these savings plans are secured against any financial problem of a company include the alternative of its going bankrupt. Even in this scenario, the savings plan should stay secure and will not be terminated.

Non-Compete Agreements

Non-Compete Agreements

Non-Compete Agreements

Most employers forbid employees from competing with the company while they are on the job. But some employers also require employees to agree not to start their own businesses or go to work for a competitor after they leave their jobs with the company. These employers require their employees to sign agreements that say something like “I promise not to compete with the company after I quit or get fired” for a specified period of time. These contracts are called “Covenants Not To Compete” or “Non-Compete Agreements.

Are non-compete agreements legal? It depends on the state you are in and what the agreement says.
In some states, non-compete agreements are invalid – because those states do not want to prevent their citizens from working for anyone they choose or from opening their own businesses.
Other states allow these agreements, because those states agree with employers who want to protect their businesses from competition from former employees. But even in these states, if the non-compete agreement stops the employee from competing at all, it will probably not be enforceable, because it is unreasonable. For example, if a salesperson has an agreement that says she can never compete with her former employer in any location in the United States, it might be invalid. On the other hand, if the non-compete agreement says that the worker cannot complete with her former employer in the same neighborhood for six months after the job ends, then that would more likely be valid. The bottom line: the less the contract restricts the employee, the more likely it is to be legal.
If you are not sure whether the non-compete agreement you want your employees to sign is valid, you should check with a lawyer who specializes in employment law.
Breaching a non-compete agreement If your employee has signed a non-compete agreement and did not want to comply with it, you should contact an attorney who specializes in employment law to find out if the contract is valid in your state.
If the employee (or the “former” employee) violates a valid agreement, you can probably sue the employee and recover the money that you lost because the employee breached the contract not to compete. You might also be able to stop the employee from operating a new business or going to work for a competitor. If your ex-employee has violated the non-compete agreement, you should contact a lawyer immediately

California Whistleblower Laws

whistleblower laws

Photo credit: tlegend / shutterstock.com

Employees of any institution in California are entitled to several rights, ensuring a safe and discrimination-free environment. As such, sections 6310 and 6311 of the California Labor Code provision specific terms that must be adhered to by all establishments. When these conditions are not met, workers have the right report incidents and enact additional measures, should whistleblowing retaliation occur after reporting a company.

Many workers feel imminent retaliation for taking action against improper practices by employers and may silent. This is why measures have been implemented to protect whistleblowers against retaliation from reporting employers for legitimate concerns.

Knowing Your Rights / Whistleblower Laws

If you believe an employer is actively engaging in discriminatory practices because of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, against you or a coworker, it is your right to report employer for such acts. It is also within your rights as a California worker to refuse work because of unsafe conditions so long as a violation to a section in Labor Code or safety order in Title 8 is present that would clearly pose a legitimate hazard.

Should either of these occurrences surface in a working environment, reporting these issues is well within an employee’s rights. By law, the company cannot retaliate however, these situations still do occur on some occasions.

Filing a Whistleblower Complaint

After filing a report because of improper practice, an employer could potentially take negative action in one of many ways. When this occurs, channels are available to assist individuals with rectifying said circumstances in the unfortunate scenarios when these problems occur.

Understand that an employer can terminate an employee at any time and for any reason. However, discharge must not defy a fundamental principal of public policy under Common Law. When unlawful termination occurs, or negative consequences arise after filing a complaint, statutory protections for whistleblowers may be initiated by the individual via following the proper protocol.

If the retaliation happened within one (1) year of the offense, one of several resources can be accessed from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) website. From here, contact should be established with department’s communication center by direct email. As each case is unique, different pieces of information will be required, depending on the scenario.

Other times, it may be best to call and speak with someone over the phone about the nature of complaint at 1-800-884-1684 (if you’re deaf or hearing impaired, contact the center at 1-800-700-2320.)

Keep in mind, resolution will take time in most cases. To see a better overview of how the process works, this flowchart from the DFEH demonstrates the methodology for handling whistleblower complaints.

 

What is Usually Included in an Employment Contract?

employment contract

Photo credit: Andrey_Popov / shutterstock.com

There are several declarations included in an employment contract. Before you start working in any firm, it is necessary for you to sign an employment contract. The contract will indicate all duties you will be required to accomplish as well as the amount of money you will earn as privileges under different conditions. It is upon you to check the contract and ensure every detail which the potential employer is promising has been well captured.

What you will find included in an employee contract

Identification

The contract identifies different parties included in the employment. You will access address; official website among other identifies which you can associate with the employer.

Effective Date of the agreement

The contract should state the date when you will start operating in a given job. It is necessary for you to know when you will start receiving the rewards associated with the contract.

Type of employment

There are different types of employment available. You can be a salaried employee who get paid on an hourly basis or a full time professional employee. You should check and ensure the contract states your job clearly.

Duties of the employee

The employee should have specific duties. For example, if an employee is required to carry out maintenance services, he should have professional licenses to carry out the maintenance services and certificates to prove ethical actions.

Extent of Services

The section covers the hours the employee is supposed to be at work place. It includes days of work and number of hours.

Benefits provided to the employee

The benefits of different employees vary. You should check with the organization to know the specific type of benefits you enjoy under a given job group.

Termination

The contract indicates clearly circumstances under which different parties can decide to terminate the contract. The part also states the type of notices required.

Notices 

There are times when notices regarding different parties can be sent. The agreement should state the channels which can be used to send notices.

Severability

The part states that if one of the parts of the contract is invalid, the rest can be valid.

Dispute process

It describes ways which can be followed to solve a dispute in a given dispute. The mandatory arbitration process should be clearly identified.

Applicable law 

It states the state in which the contract can be adjudicated in court. This is necessary to avoid confusion because different states have different labor laws.

 

 

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