When you are on the clock, you have the right to expect reasonable pay for the hours you work. As an employee, it is in your interests to understand which hours count as compensable hours and what you should expect from your employer. This will put you in a better position to protect your interests and know if you are experiencing a violation of your rights. The Fair Labor Standards Act and California laws specify the hours for which you should receive pay and other expectations for your wages.
Employers may take advantage of their hourly employees in different ways and cut corners whenever they can. One of the most common ways this happens is refusal to pay fair wages for hours that an employee worked. If you discover that your employer has not been paying you fairly, you are still owed the wages you earned. You may be eligible for compensation and recovery of the full amount of your paycheck.
What are your rights as an employee?
If you are an hourly employee, one of your most important rights is the right to overtime pay. If you work more than 40 hours per week, you should receive overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times your normal wage per hour. It is critical for employers to carefully track the number of hours someone works, and it is in your interests to also track how many hours you’ve worked. Other times you could be eligible for pay include:
- When you are on the clock, but waiting for your next task or for direction from your employer
- While you are driving during the course of your required work duties
- While on-call at the direction of your employer, if you are on the premises of where you work
- Short rest periods during your workday, such as 10- or 20-minute breaks
- During required training courses or meetings
- While you are traveling as part of your job requirements
If you believe you are not receiving fair pay and that your employer is acting in ways that are unfair, you do not have to remain silent. You have the right to seek compensation and recovery of all the wages you earned. It may be helpful to seek an understanding of the legal options available to you and your rights as a California employee.