California Labor Laws
California labor laws are a comprehensive set of legal rules and standards governing the relationship between employers and employees in the state of California.
They cover a wide range of topics including wage and hour laws, leave entitlements, safety regulations, anti-discrimination, and harassment provisions among others.
These laws are designed to protect the rights of employees, promoting a fair and safe working environment, while also considering the operational needs of employers.
The California Department of Industrial Relations is the primary body overseeing these laws, ensuring compliance and addressing violations. Both employees and employers need to understand these regulations to ensure a harmonious and legally compliant workplace.
The California Labor Code is a comprehensive collection of laws that regulate employment practices in the state. Here are a few key sections and their brief explanations:
Please note that the above list only includes some of the sections of the California Labor Code. For a complete understanding of all the laws and regulations, it is recommended to refer to the complete Labor Code or consult with a legal professional.
As of 2021, California's minimum wage is $13.00 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $14.00 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees. This rate is scheduled to increase each year until it reaches $15 per hour for all employers in 2023.
Under California law, non-exempt employees are entitled to 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 8 in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek. They also receive this rate for the first 8 hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek. For any work duration extending beyond 12 hours in a single day, or over 8 hours on the seventh consecutive day of work, employers must pay employees at a double-time rate.
California law mandates that employers provide a 30-minute meal break for shifts over 5 hours, and a second 30-minute break for shifts over 10 hours. Employees are also entitled to a 10-minute paid rest break for every 4 hours worked. Source
California provides more robust leave protections than federal law, including the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) which allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in 12 months for a serious health condition, to bond with a new child, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 requires employers to provide paid sick leave to any employee who worked in California for at least 30 days within a year. Employees earn a minimum of 1 hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Source
California law doesn't require employers to provide PTO or vacation days. However, if an employer chooses to offer these benefits, there are regulations. Unused PTO is considered a form of wage that must be paid out upon termination of employment. Source
This act mandates equal pay for employees who perform "substantially similar work," regardless of their gender. As of 2017, it was expanded to include race and ethnicity as protected classes. Source
California is an at-will employment state, meaning employers can terminate an employee at any time without cause, except for reasons prohibited by law (like discrimination). Final wages must be paid at the time of termination, including unused vacation or PTO. Source
Under the California Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are required to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. Source
California requires all employers to have workers' compensation insurance, which provides benefits to employees who get injured or sick from their jobs. Source
California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits harassment and discrimination in employment on the basis of several protected classes including race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, and sex. Source
In addition to FMLA and CFRA, California has several other leave laws including Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), Paid Family Leave (PFL), and others. Employers must also provide time off for jury duty, voting, and dealing with domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.
California law provides certain privacy protections for employees, including limits on employer surveillance, social media privacy, and more.
California Employment Law of minors, including restrictions on the types of work they can do and the hours they can work. Source
The California Labor Commissioner's Office handles wage claims. Employees in California can file claims if they believe their employer has not properly paid them their wages or benefits. Source
California labor laws often exceed federal standards in areas such as minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest breaks, and leave protections. Therefore, California employers must follow these state-specific laws.
For more detailed information about the FLSA, you can visit the U.S. Department of Labor's website.