“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” Spencer Johnson
Understanding Your Wages
Your employer asks you to come into work early to help with a job. You come in, but there’s a lot of waiting around as you wait for the car to be lifted and the problem to be discovered. In the end, you performed about a half-hour of hands-on work, but your employer only paid you minimum wage for the early shift. How can you tell if you are owed more--and what can you do if your employer has paid you too little?
California’s state laws protect wages and pay rates for workers in the transportation industry, including mechanics. Under these statutes, mechanics must be compensated properly for their work under the following considerations:
- Minimum wage. California laws require all employees to earn at least nine dollars per hour (a rate that increases to ten dollars per hour on January 1, 2016). The only exception to this rule are “learners,” or employees with no previous experience who are learning the trade. These workers must be paid at least 85 percent of the minimum wage (rounded to the nearest nickel) for their first 160 hours of work, and at least full minimum wage afterward.
- Time spent at work. If an employer requires a mechanic to report for work, but the mechanic does not have a full day of scheduled tasks or performs less than a usual day’s work, the employee may be paid at half his regular pay rate as long as the amount is not less than two hours or more than four hours at the employee’s regular pay rate.
- Extra shifts. Mechanics rarely work 9-to-5 hours, and may report to work twice in a single day. California labor laws allow any employee who works a split shift to collect one additional hour of pay (at minimum wage) in addition to a worker’s wage for the day. In addition, any employee who is required to report for work a second time in any one workday who is given less than two hours of work when he reports for the second time must be paid for two hours at his regular rate of pay. The only exceptions to these rules are if the employee reports to work but is unable to work due to loss of public utilities in the workplace (such as power, gas, or water) or there is a threat to the employee or workplace that prevents an employee from working.
- Employee tools or equipment. Any mechanic who uses his or her own tools or equipment on the job must be paid at a rate if at least twice the minimum wage. If an employer provides all necessary equipment, he or she is also responsible for the safety and upkeep of the tools and equipment. Any safety devices regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board that are required for work (such as protective eyewear or safety devices on tools) are required to be furnished by the employer.
Learn More About Your Rights to Get What You Are Owed
Your employer may owe you even more back pay, depending on how long you have worked and what actions you perform on the job. Download a free copy of our guide to California wage and hour laws, The Ultimate Straight Talk Guide To Getting Your Hard Earned Wages Back.
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Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley