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California law requires specific information on each wage statement issued to employees. Under California Labor Code Section 226(a), the following information must be included:
• gross wages earned
• net wages earned
• hourly rate the employee is being paid at
• dates of wages earned
• name of employee and the last four digits of their Social Security Number
• total hours worked by the employee
• all deductions
• name and address of legal entity of employer
If any of this information is missing or inaccurate, the employee is first entitled to recover whatever wages they are owed which was not reflected on the statement, such as unpaid overtime. More important, the employer can be liable for a civil penalty of $50 for the initial pay period where there was a violation, and then $100 per subsequent violation (these fines are capped at $400). If an attorney assists you in recovering unpaid wages and civil penalties, the law also allows for a recovery of attorney’s fees and costs.
Always remember to check each of your paychecks to ensure that the information is accurate and complete. You may realize too late that your employer has been issuing you inaccurate or incomplete paychecks for months or even years.
The Covid-19 pandemic has indeed changed life as we know it, and unfortunately not for the better. As we face new challenges from this pandemic, one important issue facing employees trying to get back to the new work “normal” is how to go work when their children must stay home. Some employers have been willing to accommodate their employees and allow them to work from home, however, many employees haven’t been so lucky and many work for an employer who requires them to be at the office or work site. The risks of going to work can be great during a pandemic where, from what we know, the virus is airborne and can be spread through anything an infected person with symptoms touches.
Compounding the fears of becoming infected and forced into work, employees now face the challenging issue of school and daycare closures and who will watch their kids when they go to work.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, California law provided limited paid leave to employees who needed time off to deal with childcare and school closures. California Labor Code section 230.8 provided that employers with 25 or more employees working at the same location had to provide their employees with up to 40 hours of unpaid leave within a calendar year to address childcare related issues.
Further, San Diego had its own earned sick leave guidelines which may also apply to Covid-19. Employers in the county must provide earned sick leave to their employees. Employees receive one hour earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with the total potential earned sick leave capped at 80 hours. Employees can use earned sick leave if the “Employee is providing care or assistance to a Child, whose school or child care provider is closed by order of a public official due a public health emergency.” (See San Diego Municipal Code section 39.0106).
In addition to the above protections and relief, the federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA provides paid leave for employees who must take care of their children while a school or childcare provider is closed due to COVID related reasons. FFCRA is limited to employers with fewer than 500 employees, and smaller employers of 50 or less may also be potentially exempted.
As the business, childcare, and economic landscape continue to change and be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, legislatures will reassess and most likely provided additional protections and relief for employees.
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