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Employees: Know your rights when it comes to your wages

Employees expect to be compensated -- and compensated fairly -- for work they have performed. Workers across California depend on the money in their paycheck, so it is crucial that this money is paid and that wages are in compliance with state regulations.

Unfortunately, too many workers lose out on critical earnings when their employer is in violation of wage and hour laws. Some of these errors are easier to spot than others.

For example, it can be fairly simple for an employee to tell if he or she is not being paid minimum wage. In California, the minimum wage is set at $9.00 and employers are required to comply with this standard, though there are exceptions.

It may also be fairly easy to tell if an employee has not been properly paid for overtime. Workers who are eligible for overtime must receive time-and-a-half for every hour of overtime they work. 

However, there are also some wage laws that may not be so obvious to average workers in this state. For instance, there are specific rules stating that:

  • Workers must be paid at least two times a month
  • Regular paydays must be established by the employer and shared with employees
  • Workers must also be paid immediately all final wages, including those for accrued vacation time, when and if they are fired
  • Wages must not be discriminatory based on gender

There are exceptions to these rules, but generally speaking, California employers are expected to observe these and other wage laws. Failure to comply with these laws can be grounds for legal action against a non-compliant employer.

Resolving wage discrepancies can be as simple as negotiating a solution with an employer or it can be more complicated and require courtroom litigation. In either case, it can be crucial for employees to speak with an attorney in order to understand their rights and legal options if they have been victims of wage or hour violations.

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