California Labor Laws

California Labor Law Breaks

Whenever a shift lasts more than five hours straight, workers are entitled to a 30-minute paid meal break. The break is not compensated if the employee is released from their regular duties and given permission to leave the workplace during it. The break must be compensated at regular salary if these conditions are not met.

On mutual agreement with management, an employee may also forgo their lunch break if a workday would be completed in six hours or less.

Whenever a work shift exceeds 10 hours, a second 30-minute rest period must be given. This second lunch break may be skipped if a day’s work is only 12 hours or less, but only if the first meal break wasn’t skipped.

An employee is entitled to an additional hour of compensation at their regular rate if their employer denies them a food break during their shift.

Every four hours, there is a paid 10-minute rest break for workers. Working less than three and a half hours does not necessitate a 10-minute break.

In addition to their meal and rest breaks, workers who are exposed to adverse weather conditions must also be given a five-minute “recovery period” in a safe area.

The employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of compensation at the standard rate for each day the employee is required to work through one or more of their rest periods.

California Minimum Wage

The minimum wage rate in California has increased in recent years to be among the highest in the nation. California only trails behind Washington and Oregon for the highest minimum wage rate. Each state usually increases its minimum wage rate each year between five to ten cents, with California increasing each year to about fifty cents.

The minimum wage for California stands at eight dollars an hour with Washington and Oregon at eight and a half dollars an hour. However, San Francisco has a minimum wage of nine dollars and seventy-nine cents. The federal minimum wage designates that all states’ minimum wages must be above seven dollars and twenty-five cents. California’s minimum wage is made through the Industrial Welfare Commission.

Whenever a state, including California, increases its minimum wage, employers are required to make the change automatically and notify employees of the change. Fines and other charges may be filed if no change occurs.

Internet Regulations

In recent years the Internet has been a negative factor in the working environment for both employees and employers. Some companies require employees to use the Internet, but it can often be abused. Because of this California has searched for ways to control abuse. Abuse can include social network sites, gambling sites, and pornography sites. Not only are such sites distracting and keeping employees from working, other problems can occur.

Pornography sites can create difficult circumstances outside of Internet abuse. Sexual harassment and uncomfortable environments can arise from these sites and later affect the working environment itself. Saving pornographic images on desktops can lead to sexual discrimination and offense. To file a sexual discrimination suit an individual does not have to be of a specific gender or race. As long as he or she finds the material offense, a case can be legally filed.

Some Californian businesses have installed Internet blocking programs to halt the issue. Other businesses link all their computers to one specific network. Through this capability, one specific computer can be pinpointed for accessing pornography sites or gambling sites. Despite the ability to erase a search history, some information can still remain in the database.

Health and Safety Regulations

All California employees are required to abide by health and safety regulations as stated by the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Unlike other states, California has mapped out its own state safety regulations for safety and health that meet the statutes of federal law. California has added to the federal health and safety laws but cannot subtract any laws. California has also installed different inspection programs and investigation programs for these regulations.

Maternity Leave Laws

Rather than use federal laws, California has chosen to use its own laws for how maternity leave is to be handled. Companies and businesses are only required to offer maternity leave if there are more than fifty employees in a seventy-mile radius. All maternity leave is not paid and can last up to twelve weeks. Employees are to receive their previous job or another at equal pay upon returning to work following leave.

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