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Wages are your right: Here's what you should know

No matter who you are or what you do, you have rights as an employee in California. Not every state is the same when it comes to employee rights and state requirements, so it's important to know the rights you're given living in California.

All employees have certain rights on the job, like the right to workers' compensation, rest or meal breaks, minimum wage and overtime, the right to take action without the risk of retaliation and to work in a safe, healthy environment.

Employers are required to pay the minimum wage to employees. Businesses who have fewer than 25 employees must pay $10.50 per hour, while businesses with at least 26 must pay at least $11.00 per hour. Contract employees must still equal at least minimum wage when the tasks are broken down into the total number of hours worked.

California's overtime laws require overtime pay to be paid at 1.5 times the regular pay rate. Doubletime is paid on all hours over 12 worked in a single day or on every hour over the eighth on the seventh straight day of work.

Employees are also entitled to certain break and rest times. Ten-minute paid rest breaks are required for every four hours of work, while meal breaks of at least 30 minutes are required after five hours of work. Some industries are exempt from these requirements, but on the whole, these regulations apply to most positions.

As an employee, your rights matter. If your employer is taking advantage of you, it's within your rights to seek help. No one should make you work for less than you deserve or in unfair conditions.

Source: Department of Industrian Relations, "All workers have rights in California," Christine Baker, Director Julie A. Su, Labor Commissioner Juliann Sum, Chief of Cal/OSHA, accessed March 06, 2018

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