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Should I be getting paid for the time it takes to open the business - before I clock in and the time it takes to close the business - after I clock out?

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California wage and hour law - find out when you should be getting paid

Under California wage law, am I supposed to be paid for opening the business before I clock in? 

Yes. California wage law: Preliminary duties - opening the business There are occasional instances where an employer will require a worker to be on the premises early in order to unlock doors, sign for a delivery, or meet a visitor. If you arrive earlier than your usual shift to “open up,” make coffee, answer emails, take calls, schedule appointments, or anything else for your employer, your paid time begins when you begin work—regardless of when others arrive.

Under California law, you must be paid for all regular work duties.Troester v. Starbucks Corp., 5 Cal. 5th 829, 847 (2018).

This includes, unlocking doors, turning off alarms, turning on lights, and/or logging onto a computer. If you perform any of these tasks before you clock in, then the company must compensate you for this time. Even if it is a short amount of time.

Should I be getting paid for the time it takes to close the business after I have clocked out?

Yes. California law for getting paid for time after workers clock out and they are closing the business. There are many businesses where workers are required to close the business down at the end of the work day. From banks, to restaurants, to cafes, to retail stores, factories, auto dealerships, etc. Under California law, you must be paid for all regular work duties. Troester v. Starbucks Corp., 5 Cal. 5th 829, 847 (2018). Even when they only take a minute or two to perform.

What makes it all worth it - getting your settlement check for unpaid wages

Turley's Happy Clients With Their Settlement Check For Unpaid Wages

"But it's only a couple of minutes a shift - it's not worth it..." - -  NOT!!! It can be totally worth it!!!

If you're only talking a few minutes a day, then you might think bringing a wage claim, just isn't worth. Which may be true for you if you're only talking about the wages. But California law realizes that many people won't enforce their wage rights for a few dollars. However, under California's strict wage laws you're also entitled to liquidated damages, pay stub violations, waiting time penalties and PAGA penalties. 

Suppose you're owed $17 in wages. Depending on how much you make an hour, you may be entitled to $8,000 or more in penalties. That's right. You should keep on reading...

You're also owed liquidated damages

Since you weren't paid at least minimum wage for the this time, you're also owed liquidated damages.California Labor Code Section 1194.2 (a). Under California law, if you're not paid at least minimum wage for any time that you work, you're also entitled to liquidated damages. Which is double the minimum wage.Thus, for every hour that your not paid, you owed double the current minimum wage. For example, if the minimum wage is $12 an hour, then you're entitled to $24 an hour.

The pay that you're owed for not getting paid for opening/ closing is probably much less than penalties you're owed under California wage laws 

The pay you're owed for not getting paid for all of the time that you worked is probably much less than the penalties that you're owed under California's strict wage laws. In addition to the pay you're owed, you're also owed pay stub violations and waiting time penalties.

You're also owed paycheck stub violations (up to $4,000) 

You're also owed paycheck stub violations. Since your employer didn't put all of the hours you worked on your pay stub, didn't put your gross pay and didn't put the net pay owed to  you on your pay stub, then you are entitled to paycheck stub violations. California Labor Code Section 226(a). These 226 penalties are up to $4,000.


You're also owed waiting time penalties.

Since all of your wages weren't paid timely at time of termination, you're also owed waiting time penalties.  California Labor Code Section 203. The waiting penalties you're owed are up to 30 days pay.

For example, if  you made $16 an hour your waiting time penalties are as follows:

$15 x 8 hours = $120
$120 x 30 days = $3,600

You're also entitled to PAGA violations for California Labor Code violations  

Under the Private Attorneys General Act your entitled to the following PAGA violations/ penalties: 

California Labor Code Section 1197 violation (minimum wage)
California Labor Code Section 1197.1 penalties for payment of less than minimum wage.
California Labor Code Section   510 - overtime (for the shifts over 8 hours)
California Labor Code Section  224b - not paying wages earned every pay period 

PAGA Wage order violations

3(A)(1) - Daily Overtime
4(A) minimum wage
4(B) payroll period - pay minimum wage

How do PAGA penalties work?

Under PAGA, the civil penalty against the employer, for an initial violation is $100 per employee per pay period, and the penalty for each subsequent violation is $200 per employee per pay period.

Why is Bill Turley asked to testify concerning  wage law legislation at the California State Senate and the California Assembly?

Bill Testifying at the California Senate and Assembly

Because Bill is well known as a No B.S. straight-shooter lawyer

Believe it or not, Bill is known for being a no B.S. straight-up lawyer. Besides being known as one of the leading experts on this area of the law in California, one of the reasons why Bill is asked to testify at legislature hearings is because he is known for being straight-forward and blunt. He is known for being no B.S., with no lawyer-talk, no double-talk.

Satisfied Turley Law Firm Clients With their Unpaid Wages Back
Yes. Getting your unpaid wages back!!!

A Case Study - Starbucks workers not getting paid for closing the store 

Starbucks's computer software required a worker to clock out on every closing shift before initiating the software's “close store procedure” on a separate computer terminal in the back office. The close store procedure transmitted daily sales, profit and loss, and store inventory data to Starbucks's corporate headquarters. After he completed this task, he  activated the alarm.

Once he set the alarm, he needed to exit the store within one minute to avoid triggering the alarm. And Plaintiff testified that it took 30 seconds to walk out of the store. He then locked the door, which took 15 seconds to ‘a couple minutes,’ and walked his coworkers to their cars, which took 35 to 45 seconds. Most of the time, he was able to complete these tasks in about 2 minutes. Sometimes, it would take up to 5 minutes.

Over the 17-month period of his employment, the worker's unpaid time totaled approximately 12 hours and 50 minutes. At the then-applicable minimum wage, this unpaid time added up to $ 102.67, exclusive of any penalties or other remedies.Troester v. Starbucks Corp., 5 Cal. 5th 829, 835-836 (2018).

In this case, Starbucks contended that this time was minimal and it didn’t have to be paid. The legal term is this time “de minimis.” The District Court agreed with Starbucks and threw the case out of court by concluding the de minimis doctrine applied.

The California Supreme Court held that if an employer has to regularly engage in work duties, then the time is not de minimis and must be paid, holding:

The Labor Code also contemplates that employees will be paid for all work performed. Troester v. Starbucks Corp., 5 Cal. 5th 829, 840 (2018).

The following quote by the California Supreme Court shows that they actually get. They understand the difficulties people face when trying to make ends meet:

$ 102.67 ... enough to pay a utility bill, buy a week of groceries, or cover a month of bus fares. What Starbucks calls “de minimis” is not de minimis at all to many ordinary people who work for hourly wages. Troester v. Starbucks Corp., 5 Cal. 5th 829, 847 (2018).

Total wages and penalties owed under California wage law:

$102  Unpaid wages
$102  Liquidated damages
$4,000  Pay stub violations 
$2,880  Waiting time penalties (at $12 hour) 
$7,084  Total wages and penalties 

In addition, he is entitled to PAGA penalties. 

Questions or do you need help right now?

Call us at 619-304-1000

Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new wage case" in your text. 

Or leave us a message on this webpage.

This article isn't legal advice

These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. These testimonials, endorsements, photos and/or discussions do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation. Every case is different. There are any number of reasons why class actions are not certified, not won and/or PAGA actions are not successful.Just because we have gotten great results in so many other unpaid wage cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in other cases. Including, your wage case. Every case is different. In other words, your mileage may vary.

William Turley
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“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”
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