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New laws in California define better employee rights

Employment laws in California are always changing, but changes in 2014 are notable for workers. There is now an increased minimum wage of $9.00 per hour, and it will again rise in 2016 to $10.00. If you are paid less than this, then it's possible for you to make a claim with the assistance of your attorney for compensation.

The Labor Commissioner is now in a position where he or she can order double the damages for any minimum wage violation. The Commissioner can choose to give the victim the amount of the unpaid wages plus interest for those unpaid wages. The new requirement aims to reduce the amount of workers receiving less than minimum wage within the state by punishing employers who use these tactics.

Domestic workers, who are protected under the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, can now receive overtime. The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights requires that overtime is paid to domestic workers who work more than nine hours in a day or if they have worked more than 45 hours in a week.

Who counts as a domestic worker? Those who are child care providers, caregivers to the sick, elderly, or disabled, maids, and housekeepers working in facilities that don't provide housing or board. Babysitters are generally excluded from these requirements, unless they are doing substantial work beyond supervising, dressing, and feeding children.

For instance, if you're working as a caregiver to adults still living at home, you would be considered a domestic worker. If you have to stay the night, stay over nine hours, or work over a 45-hour week to care for the individual, you should be paid overtime for any time beyond those hours to compensate you for your intensive work schedule.

Source: Mondaq, "United States: New California Employment Laws For 2014," Mary Pierce, accessed Oct. 08, 2015

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