Month: October 2018

What Counts as a Tip for Employees in California? Part I

What Counts as a Tip for Employees in California Part I

Some restaurants tack a “mandatory service charge” on to bills for large tables of diners, private parties, or catered events. Under federal and California law, this isn’t considered a tip.

Even if the customer thinks that money is going to you and doesn’t leave anything extra on the table, your employer can keep any money designated as a “service charge.”

The law generally considers this part of the contract between the patron and the establishment, not a voluntary acknowledgment of good service by an employee. Many employers give at least part of these service charges to employees, but that’s the employer’s choice: Employees have no legal right to that money.

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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Tip Basics for Employees in California

Tip Basics for Employees in California

The basic rule of tips is that they belong to the employee, not the employer. Under California law, an employer cannot take any part of a tip that’s left for an employee.

This means that you can’t be forced to share your tips with the owners, managers, or supervisors of the business (who are all considered to be the agents of the employer).

Your employer also can’t count your tips towards its minimum wage obligations. In most other states, employers may pay employees less than the minimum wage, as long as the employees earn enough in tips to make up the difference (called a “tip credit”).

However, California does not allow employers to take tip credits. Employers must pay employees at least the California minimum wage for each hour worked, in addition to any tips they may receive.

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

California Laws for Tipped Employees

California Laws for Tipped Employees

Do you earn tips?

Plenty of employees in California do, including those who wait tables, serve and mix drinks, open doors, carry luggage, clean hotel rooms, or provide other services, from moving furniture to delivering newspapers.

When you receive tips as part of your compensation, your legal rights under wage and hour laws become a bit more complicated.

The rules about what counts as a tip, how much your employer must pay you, and whether you have to contribute to a tip pool (among other things) all depend on the laws of your state. Although federal law also covers these issues, employers must follow whichever law—federal, state, or even local—is the most generous to employees.

California law is very protective of employees, so state laws typically trump federal laws on wages and hours.

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

What to Do If You Aren’t Receiving Overtime

What to Do If You Aren't Receiving Overtime

If you don’t fit into one of these narrow exemptions, your employer should be paying you overtime. Some employers incorrectly treat all salaried employees as exempt from overtime. However, there is no legal basis for doing so.

If you believe your employer should be paying you overtime, you should talk to an experienced employment attorney.

An attorney can help you figure out whether you qualify for overtime and, if so, how much you might be entitled to collect in a wage claim against your employer.

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

Who Is Entitled to Overtime in California?

Who Is Entitled to Overtime in California

You are entitled to overtime unless you are exempt. The exemptions are a bit different for federal and state law.California’s exemptions are listed below.

You are exempt from overtime—that is, you aren’t entitled to earn overtime, no matter how many hours you work—if you fit into one of these categories:

  • sheepherders
  • irrigators
  • actors
  • motion picture projectionists
  • crew members on commercial fishing vessels
  • ride operators employed by traveling carnivals
  • student nurses attending certain accredited schools
  • taxi drivers
  • certain airline employees
  • drivers of school buses and certain commercial vehicles
  • those participating in a national service program, like AmeriCorp
  • those who are employed by a child, spouse, or parent
  • announcers, news editors, or chief engineers of radio or television stations in towns or cities with no more than 25,000 residents
  • babysitters under the age of 18
  • certain personal attendants
  • employees covered by collective bargaining agreements that provide for pay that exceeds the minimum wage by set amounts and provide for overtime premium pay
    employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement under the Railway Labor Act
  • employees who earn more than 1.5 times the minimum wage and receive more than half of their compensation in the form of commissions
  • outside salespeople (those who work at least half of their time away from the employer’s place of business selling items or obtaining contracts or orders for products, services, or facilities)
  • certain employees in the computer software field who earn a minimum hourly rate (the rate is adjusted each year), and
  • executive, administrative, and professional employees (those whose work is primarily intellectual, creative, administrative, or managerial and requires the use of independent judgment and discretion, as long as they are paid at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment and meet other requirements; examples may include upper management, executive assistants, teachers, accountants, artists, composers, and more).

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

How Overtime Works in California

How Overtime Works in California

In California, employees are entitled to overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week or more than eight hours in a day. California employees are also entitled to overtime for the first eight hours they have to work on the seventh consecutive day of a work week.

If you work overtime, you must be paid a premium for your extra hours. The overtime premium is one-and-a-half times your regular pay rate, often referred to as “time-and-a-half.” Your regular pay rate is the total compensation you earn, divided by the number of hours you work.

For example, if you are paid by the hour, your regular pay rate is that hourly rate. If you are paid a weekly salary for full-time work, your regular pay rate is your salary divided by 40 hours. Other compensation—such as shift differentials, or bonuses for productivity, proficiency or attendance—must be included in the calculation as well.

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

Anti-discrimination Laws in California – Part II

Anti-discrimination Laws in California - Part II

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that enforces federal discrimination laws, has issued guidance explaining how employers can screen out applicants whose criminal records pose an unreasonable risk without engaging in discrimination.

According to the EEOC, employers should also give applicants with a criminal record an opportunity to explain the circumstances and provide mitigating information showing that the employee should not be excluded based on the offense. California’s ban-the-box law essentially incorporates these guidelines into its procedures.

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

Anti-discrimination Laws in California – Part I

Anti-discrimination Laws in California

Federal and California employment laws prohibit most employers from discriminating against applicants based on certain characteristics, such as race and ethnicity.

Because arrest and incarceration rates are disproportionately higher for African Americans and Latinos, an employer that adopts a blanket policy of excluding all applicants with a criminal record might be guilty of race discrimination.

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