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  4.  | California has unique rules for off-the-clock work

California has unique rules for off-the-clock work

There’s a degree of tension in any relationship between an employee and a company that has hired them. Workers want the best benefits and pay possible in return for their labor, while companies typically hope to keep operating costs as low as possible.

Organizations sometimes take advantage of the lack of knowledge common among employees. They expect that workers may not know their rights and therefore cannot assert themselves when negotiating a contract or facing inappropriate employment practices. Companies may also have rules that put workers at a disadvantage.

Many organizations try to convince hourly employees to perform certain tasks off the clock. Doing so allows the company to benefit from labor without paying the workers for their time. California has a different approach to work performed off the clock than the rest of the country.

California rules are stricter than federal standards

Technically, all employees should receive fair and reasonable wages for the time that they work. However, federal law does provide loopholes that employers can manipulate to their advantage. The de minimus rule applies in scenarios where organizations need workers to perform small job tasks before or after a shift.

Under this rule, a company can theoretically justify a refusal to compensate a worker for insignificant amounts of time dedicated to responsibilities like locking up a store or responding to a manager’s email over the weekend. California’s rule for wages is substantially more comprehensive than the federal rule that employers often abuse.

The Supreme Court of California has determined that the de minimus rule does not apply to job responsibilities performed in California. Workers deserve compensation for all time worked when companies pay them on an hourly basis. Even if a job task only requires two or three minutes each shift, the workers should receive compensation for that time.

Particularly when the unpaid work is a recurring job responsibility that someone must perform frequently, they may have reason to take action against an employer for refusing to pay them for services provided. Filing a wage and hour claim can help private-sector employees receive the pay they have earned by performing off-the-clock work. Those who know how companies may try to violate their rights can stand up for themselves and their co-workers more effectively.


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