Month: October 2015

Can My Employer Require Me to Take my Break after I Get to Work?

Can My Employer Require Me to Take my Break after I Get to Work

Let’s just say you work at a coffee shop and you have a day shift that starts at 9 am to 5 pm. That is because the store has a morning rush that needs to be attended to. However, your manager has scheduled your break to be at 9:30, only half an hour after you arrive in the morning. Then you’re forced to work for the rest of the day without a break. Is this okay?

Of course, breaks are important for employees. This might come as a surprise, but according to federal law, employers are not required to give you any breaks at all. As long as you are paid for all of the time you spend working, your employer is meeting its obligations under federal law. However, it’s not that easy. There’s also state laws that we need to be mindful of.

Half of the states do require some form of breaks. Some states leave the timing of breaks entirely up to the employer. Your employer’s practice of scheduling your break just half an hour after your work start time would be entirely legal in those states. Other states impose requirements on when the breaks must be scheduled.

It’s important to talk to an employment lawyer to find out whether your specific state requires employers to provide you a break.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com/

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Can My Employer Deduct Credit Card Processing Fees from My Tip?

Credit card terminal (POS-terminal) for payment

In many states, the answer is yes, your employer may deduct credit card processing fees from your tip.

However, if you are a California employee, the employer may not deduct any part of an employee’s tip to pay credit card processing fees.

The general rule everywhere is that tips belong to employees. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. For example, many states allow employers to claim a “tip credit,” which means they may pay employees less than the regular minimum wage, as long as the employee earns enough in tips to make up the difference. These employers aren’t taking their employees’ tips, but they are getting to count those tips towards their own minimum wage obligations.

Most states also allow employers to require employees to share their tips, in tip sharing or pooling arrangements. This allows employers to distribute tips to employees who wouldn’t normally receive them, in effect using tips to supplement employee incomes.

In California, however, the law requires employers to pay all costs of doing business; they may not pass any of those costs on to employees. Among other things, this means employers may not charge employees for cash register shortages or broken items, unless they were due to intentional misconduct. The same rule applies to credit card processing fees. California views these fees as expenses the employer should have to pay, not the employee. Therefore, California employers may not deduct credit card processing fees from employee tips.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com/

Do I Have to Use Up My Vacation Every Year or Do I Have to Forfeit it?

Do I Have to Use Up My Vacation Every Year or Do I Have to Forfeit it

Let’s say you get ten days of paid vacation every year. Up to the last month that you’ll be able to use your vacation days, you have 7 days of vacation days left. Your boss tells you that you have to take these vacation days before the end of the year or else you’ll lose them. What do you do?

There’s no law that requires employers to provide paid vacation to their employees. However, some states do have laws that form the kind of vacation policies employers can create. This means that employers do not have to offer vacation, but if they do, they have to follow certain guidelines.

This “use-it-or-lose-it” policy for vacation days provides a certain deadline, which is usually by the end of the year, by which employees must use their saved up vacation or forfeit it. In most states, this is perfectly legal as long as they are clearly communicated to the employee and not applied in a discriminatory way. For example, an employer may not use this policy to target certain races or sexes.

However, in some states, such as California, this “use-it-lose-it” policies are illegal. California law declares accrued vacation to be a kind of wages that have already been earned by the employee. Thus, the employer cannot take those wages back.

However, California employers can provide some reasonable limit on vacation accrual. For example, if you earn 10 days of vacation each year, your employer can set a limit of 20 days.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com/

Are Mandatory Service Charges Part of My Tips as an Employee?

Are Mandatory Service Charges Part of My Tips as an Employee

As a waiter or employee, you would be surprised to find out that mandatory service charges are legal in most states. There are no federal law regulations on this issue so it really depends on state and local law. With a few exceptions, most states allow restaurants and employers to keep this money.

Even though California is the most employee friendly, it does not classify mandatory services chargers as tips. In California, tips belong to employees. Although an employer may require employees to participate in a legal tip pooling or sharing arrangement, it may not take any part of employee tips.

However, mandatory service charges are considered to be a part of the bill, and are not considered to be a gratuity. This means that an employer does not have to distribute any part of these charges to employees.

It’s important to talk to an employment lawyer to check whether your city or state has its own rules about mandatory service charges.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com/

Can My Supervisor or Manager Share My Tips?

Can My Supervisor or Manager Share My Tips

In general, tip pooling is legal, but only if certain requirements are met.

This is a rather controversial topic, especially because tip-sharing is typical in today’s standards. Tip-sharing is typically in the form of counter jars, where employees each have to share the tips in the communal pot.

Under federal law, employees can share tips only with other employees who serve customers and receive tips. If the purpose of tip-sharing is to share tips among all tipped employees, and not to give tips to employees who otherwise would not receive them, then that’s okay. This also means that if your manger who never actually serves customers then he or she might not most likely be entitled to a share of the tip share.

The most important note to consider is that no employers are allowed in the pool. As a key rule: tips belong to employees, and not the company.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com/

Can My Employer Make Me Pay for Uniforms?

Can My Employer Make Me Pay for Uniforms

Generally speaking, employers are allowed to require employees to dress in a particular way, including wearing a uniform, as long as those requirements aren’t discriminatory or illegal.

Further, California employers may not prohibit female employees from wearing pants. So, a uniform requirement that requires dresses or skirts for female employees is considered illegal.

Also, a uniform that is hard for an employee with a disability to wear and take off may have to modified for that employee’s use.

Federal law allows employers to deduct the cost of supplying and maintaining a uniform from an employee’s paycheck, as long as the employee’s wages after the deduction don’t fall below the minimum wage. Thus, if you earn only the minimum wage, your employer may not require you to pay for a uniform.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com/

Does My Employer Have to Pay for My Training?

Does My Employer Have to Pay for My Training

This is a common question about employees and the answer is that your employer does have to pay for your training.

If training is mandatory, then you have the right to be paid for your time. This also holds true for meetings, lectures, and even some company events. Contact an employment lawyer if you have any questions about this.

An employee has to be paid for training time unless all of the following are true:
– The program takes place outside of normal work hours.
– Attendance is voluntary
– The program is not job-related, and
– The employee does not perform any other work at the same time

However, if your training is mandatory and job-related, then you have the right to be paid.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com/

Can My Employer Require Me to Work Overtime?

Can My Employer Require Me to Work Overtime

The short answer is yes, your employer can require you to work overtime and can fire you if you refuse, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. § 201) and according to the federal overtime law.

The Federal Labor Standard does not set a limit on how many hours a day or week your employer can require you to work. However, it does require only that employers pay employees overtime (time and a half the worker’s regular rate of pay) for any hours over 40 that the employee works in a week.

Please note that according to federal overtime law, your employer does not have to pay you overtime if you work more than eight hours in a day. The federal law is interested only in weeks, not days. As long as you work fewer than 40 hours in a week, you aren’t entitled to overtime. However in California, the law requires employers to pay workers overtime if you work more than eight hours per day.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com/

What Do I Do If My Employer is Underpaying Me?

What Do I Do If My Employer is Underpaying Me

Your employer may be paying you less than the federal minimum wage, which is currently at $7.25 per hour. Any business that engages in business that deals with other states must pay the federal minimum wage, no matter how or how few employees it has. In practicality, the vast majority of businesses are subject to minimum wage.

Further, your state’s minimum wage might be even higher as your local country or city government might have a more generous minimum wage. For example, in California, the minimum wage is currently $9.00 per hour and $10 per hour after January 1, 2016. Employers have to respect and follow whichever wage law is most generous to employees.

Your first action should to be to tell your employer, in a respectful way, that he or she is wrong. In other words, point out that he or she is legally required to pay you the minimum wage. If your employer does not act on this, then you should contact an employment lawyer. You may be entitled to collect back pay, which is the money you would have earned had you been paid the actual minimum wage.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com/