As an ongoing public
service, I have done exhaustive research on the subject of California
labor laws and have compiled the following quiz, complete with answers.
Please be advised, however, that
I get exhausted after about two minutes of research.
Question No. 1:
Bobby, an excellent employee of your business, has serious money problems.
His wife is ill, his baby needs new shoes and his mother-in-law is moving
in with him. He comes to you and asks if he can work seven days a week.
You were about to hire a part-timer,
anyway. What do you do?
him more hours, of course. Heís one of your best employees and itís
much wiser to have him work more hours with you than have him find a
second job with someone else. And it beats hiring a part-timer who is
But explain that because he asked
for the extra hours, it would not be overtime pay, which you could not
him to hit the pavement. You donít want any overworked, overtired,
walking time bombs in the company. Suggest he join the armed forces.
fire him, but patiently explain that California law requires you to pay
overtime for any work performed over 40 hours in any workweek, regardless
of who requested the work. Then explain that you could hire two new people
for the cost of his overtime pay.
Then tell him to hit the streets to try
and find a second job where he can start at the bottom in a part-time
"C." The rationale behind the law is obvious -- to protect the
employee from being coerced into longer hours without overtime pay. But
the flip side is that many workers who desperately need more hours are
forced to find inconvenient second jobs.
Question No. 2:
Sally, who is nearing retirement, has worked for you for 37 years. She now
wants to take a two-week cruise to celebrate her 50th wedding
anniversary with her long-suffering husband. She asks if she might,
please, have a paid vacation to enjoy this milestone.
What do you do?
A) Let her
go on the cruise, of course. California law requires at least two weeks of
paid vacation for any employees who have worked for more than one year.
her she missed the boat. Explain there will be plenty of time to cruise
when she retires, so stop whining about the need for relaxation while sheís
still on the payroll.
Considering sheís worked 37 years without a paid vacation, reward her by
announcing you will allow her to go on the cruise, but it will be an
unpaid leave rather than a paid vacation.
"C" if youíve got any heart at all or "B" if youíre
a complete jerk. Surprisingly, there is no legal obligation for a
California employer to offer vacation pay, sick pay or severance pay to
employees. It is up to the individual employer to set policy, and if you
chose to offer no vacation, so be it. Just donít sleep too soundly.
Question No. 3:
Your sister calls. Her 17-year old son, Bruno, is out of school for the
summer and needs work. You could use some help in your warehouse moving
boxes from Point A to Point B and even Bruno can handle that job.
What do you do?
the big oaf, telling him youíll give him $2 an hour under the table but
he has to promise to take the earring out of his lip.
him and put him on the payroll, reluctantly paying him $3.61 per hour,
which is the legal amount under Californiaís child labor laws (85
percent of the $4.25 adult minimum wage).
to hire him, telling your sister that Bruno does not have the proper
papers to be employed. When she sheepishly admits he has no pedigree,
explain that you mean he needs a work permit from his local school
"C" again. No only does anyone under the age of 18, with limited
exceptions, need a "Permit to Work," but the employer needs to
apply for and receive a "Permit to Employ" from the local school
district. California Labor Code Section 1304 states that failure to
produce permits to work or to employ is prima facie evidence of
illegal employment of minors. The penalty is a fine and/or up to six
months in the county jail.
If Bruno and the employer get the
papers in order, then the answer becomes "B." And if Bruno
demands a raise, you can always hold a match to your "Permit to