Compared to other states, labor laws in California are much more employee-friendly.
The state has a habit of adapting the terms of federal laws then making it better for the workers.
This provides employees better avenues for resolving labor disputes.
One example is the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA.
The FLSA sets the national minimum wage, the delineation of overtime pay and regulations for child labor.
If you look at California's own labor laws, you will see that there are some advantages compared to the FLSA such as.
Higher Minimum Wage
California has one of the highest minimum wages in the United States at $8.00 per hour.
The national minimum wage set by the FLSA is currently $7.25, which is .75 cents lower than the state minimum wage.
If you are wondering if the employer has a choice between the national and the state minimum wage, then the answer is a resounding no.
The policy is that the state will follow the rate that is more beneficial to the employees.
In California's case, $8.00 is definitely more advantageous compared to $7.25.
Another advantage of California's minimum wage is that regardless if the employee earns in tips, it does not affect his $8.00 per hour.
With the national minimum wage, the FLSA allows the employer to pay only a percentage of the minimum wage if the employee can earn the rest in tips.
Meal and Rest Breaks
Another advantage of California's labor laws to FLSA is the requirement for meal and rest breaks.
In FLSA, the employers are not really required to provide meal or rest periods to employees.
If the employees are given breaks, then it is under the prerogative of the employer.
In California law, employers are required to provide non-exempt employees with a 30 minute meal break if they worked more than 5 hours.
The employee must also be relieved of all work since this is a non-working break.
State labor laws also require employers to provide employees with 10-minute rests break for every 4 hours worked.
Violations of these meal and rest breaks will require employers to pay the employees one hour's worth of pay for every missed breaks.
Vested Vacation Pays
Both FLSA and California labor laws do not require employers to provide vacation leaves.
But under the California law, once an employee is given a vacation leave it cannot be forfeited by the employer.
The vacation leaves are also considered as a form of wage so there are not really that many an employer can do about it except put a limit on how many leaves can be acquired.
But generally, unused vacation leaves will be carried over the next period and upon employment separation, these unused vacation leaves should be paid by the employer to the employee.