Legal, Office and Workplace

7 Most Vital Things You Need to Know About California Labor Laws

7 Most Vital Things You Need to Know About California Labor Laws

Are you operating a business here in California and are interested in protecting it by all means possible? Well, California labor laws are an essential factor to consider in order to achieve this objective. Therefore, you need to have significant knowledge about these laws to help you make informed decisions concerning various operations in your business. We’ve put together a list of 7 most vital things you need to know about the labor laws. Please read on.

Overtime Payment

If your employees are working for 40+ hours in a week, it is important that you learn the different mandatory overtime payment rules. If the employees work for between 8 and 12 hours in a day, they’re entitled to a pay rate of one and one-half their usual rate for every excess hour they’ll get to work. However, if you’ll compensate for the extra hours they spend on a particular day by allowing them to go home early on another day, they won’t receive overtime for the extra hours they worked previously. If the workers work 7 days in a row, you’re required to pay them one and one-half times the usual first 8-hour rates for the seventh day. Some employees could also be working for 12+ hours in a day. In such a situation, you’ll need to double their wages for every extra hour. These rules call for proper staff management in your business. If you or a family member needs guidance or attorney services on this or any other aspect of California labor laws, you should consult a California attorney to help you.

Sexual Harassment

Different forms of sexual harassment have been witnessed in different organizations, especially those with a significant number of employees. According to the State of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, sexual harassment includes harassment based on gender, childbirth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions. As an employer, it’s your duty to prevent any form of sexual harassment in your place of work. The law states that every employer should be held liable regardless of whether they’re aware or not. You, therefore, have an obligation to provide your employees with mandatory sexual harassment especially if your company has 50+ workers.

Meals and Rest Breaks

How often and for how long do you normally give your workers breaks for meals and rest? Every employee in your business is entitled to meals and rest breaks. The employment law requires that you provide your employees with an unpaid 30-minute break after they’ve worked for a minimum of 5 hours in a row. This means that if the worker will work more than 10 hours, a second 30-minute break will be necessary during their shift. If the employee deliberately chooses to continue working after these 5 hours when you’ve released them, well and good. But you’re not to force them to work regardless of the circumstances. Providing meals is not a requirement by the law but something you get to agree with the management and your employees. Some may choose to work while eating during their time for the break, and for this, they deserve to be paid for that time.

Employee’s Compensation Insurance

The state of California requires every business, regardless of the size, to have workers’ compensation insurance. The Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California have set different rules and regulations to effect the same. Not securing the workers’ comp for your workers is a criminal offense that could seriously affect you and your business. Accidents are unpredictable. They can happen anytime and anywhere inside the business premises. This is why having workers comp for your employees is very important. Ensure to develop a compliance strategy or have a read of the regulations for the sake of providing a safer workplace. In this insurance, the employee’s salary is used to calculate the respective premiums.

Parental Leaves

If you’re operating a business with at least 20 employees, you’re subject to the new parental leave law. This is a new law that was enforced from January 2018 that requires every organization with 20+ employees to make allowances for new parents. However, before awarding the allowances to any employee, ensure that they’ve worked for a minimum of 1,250 hours within the last 12 months – around 26 hours a week. If they meet this requirement, they’re entitled to a parental leave of up to 12 weeks at any time within the first year of the child. By giving them some time off, you’re to allow them to get back to work after the period lest you’ll be in breach of the act. There are different exemptions to this law that you should learn to help you make informed decisions.

Fair Employment and Termination

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act outlines different attributes that every employer must not consider when making a decision of who to employ. These include the person’s sex, age, race, marital status, religion, or color. The act also contains a number of protected classes. You’re not to take into account the person’s nationality, illness, disability, or sexuality. The California Equal Pay Act forbids every employer from paying different wages to people of different sex doing similar jobs. It’s also against the law to terminate an employee based on their race, gender, color, religion, marital status, age, or sex.

Independent Contractors are Different from Employees

There have been instances where some employers tend to treat their contractors as they do with their employees. Remember, these are not your employees and in no instance should you refer them as such. Therefore, you need to be keen not to assign duties of a W2 employee to a 1099 contractor as this could lead to trouble. You should make a point of checking the IRS rules put in place to help you do everything right. If you’re operating a small business and have plans of growing in the near future, it’s high time that you learn about these rules. They’ll be useful later on when you’ll be having different contractors in your business.


If you’re operating a small business that has seen significant growth over the last years, there are quite a number of pitfalls that you should be aware of in order to avoid making a mistake that could easily cost your business. Ensure to always put the above vital things into practice to enhance the smooth operation of your business. Also, look out for other relevant blogs to learn more about California Employment Law.

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