California Piece Rate Workers Rights and Compensation Laws Attorney
Employers pay their employees in many different ways. While some workers are salaried, others are paid by the hour. If employers abide by the minimum wage rate and all applicable California labor laws, the way an employee is paid is up to the business.
Piece-rate compensation is one way that employers may pay their employees in California. Although many industries do not have a use for this method of compensation, it makes sense for some specific jobs. If employers pay their laborers properly under this system, it is legal and fair to use piece-rate compensation as a method of payment.
However, there are many different rules and regulations that apply to piece-rate compensation. Because many people do not understand these rules, employers avoiding minimum wage laws can use piece-rate payments to take advantage of their employees. If you are being paid under a piece-rate compensation system, be sure that you understand all the applicable rules. Having an experienced labor attorney on hand can help you with any disputes or underpayments.
Table of Contents
Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers: Your California Piece-Rate Attorneys
For employment law, no firm in the California area has more knowledge and experience than our team at Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers. Our attorneys have many years of combined experience. We are passionate about helping workers stand up to unfair labor practices, unpaid wages, and other employment law violations. We protect employees in California and help them achieve the wage statement requirements that they deserve.
No matter how much you like your job, respect your boss, and get along with your coworkers, we know that work ultimately functions to support your family and lifestyle. Unfortunately, employers often take advantage of employees, especially when they are eager to work extra. Our firm is here to defend your rights as an employee. We can make sure that your employer is not taking advantage of your kindness, passion, and work ethic.
Piece-rate workers in California deserve fair compensation, even if their average hourly rate and payment structure differ from other types of industries. If you are a piece-rate worker, trust Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers to help you with your claim.
What Is Piece Work Payment?
Many people do not know what “piece-rate payment” is, but it is important to understand this system. That way, you can ensure that you are being paid correctly and fairly by your employer.
When an employer pays their employee by the job or unit of work rather than by the hour, this is known as “piece-rate work payment.” For example, an auto body shop may choose to pay a mechanic by the vehicle rather than by the number of hours worked. This system is also common in agriculture, where workers may get a certain amount of money for every unit of product that they harvest.
Piece-rate work payments are considered legal in California. However, the average hourly rate must follow minimum wage laws. Therefore, an employer cannot set an incredibly low piece rate for their employees. Using the above example, an auto body shop could not pay their mechanics $20 per car if most cars take 4-5 hours to complete. This would equal approximately $4 per hour, which is far below the California minimum wage of $15.50 per hour.
Why Do I Need an Employment Attorney?
If you work on a piece-rate basis, having an attorney on your side if problems arise is critical. Although these systems are permissible by law, some employers use them to underpay their employees. Many claim that the rates are fair, but in reality, it is impossible to make minimum wage with the piece rate provided.
Having an attorney helps you protect your hard work and hard-earned wages. With our help, you can resolve any wage disputes and ensure that your employer is paying you correctly. If you cannot stand up to an employer’s unfair treatment, they are stealing your labor and your time without any repercussions.
Fighting your own employment law case is difficult. The laws surrounding employment are complicated, and many attorneys do not know the relevant details of these laws. Attempting to fight your own claim without any prior experience will be difficult, likely unsuccessful, and ultimately more expensive than hiring an attorney.
Piece-Rate Work and Overtime
Just as with any other payment structure, piece rate workers are entitled to overtime compensation if they work for more than 40 hours in a single week. However, it can be difficult to determine how much you should be paid when you are compensated based on the unit and not the hour.
To determine your overtime rate, divide the gross wages paid by the number of hours worked. This is your hourly rate. You are entitled to 1.5 times the calculated hourly rate for any hours you worked over 40.
For example, suppose that you earned $900 and worked 45 hours in a week. Your hourly rate is $900/45, which is $20. Since you worked 5 hours over the 40-hour maximum, you should get 1.5 times $20, or $30 per hour, for those five hours.
Pay close attention to your total hours worked, unit rate, authorized rest periods, and gross wages paid. These are key pieces of information when determining whether you have been properly compensated in a piece-rate system.
California Rest Period Laws
California law complicates the piece rate system even further. Although you are paid based on the number of units completed, you must also be compensated for nonproductive time worked. This includes breaks, time waiting for a new project, etc. The rate for this authorized rest period does not need to be your normal rate, but it must be at least minimum wage.
For example, suppose that a mechanic earns $150 for every car they work on. They complete one project and are waiting for their next car to be ready. During this rest period, the auto body shop must pay them at least $15.50 per hour, which is the California minimum wage. If it takes two hours for the next project to begin, the employer must pay the mechanic $31 in gross pay for those hours spent without something to do.
Piece Rate Employee FAQs
Q: Is Piecework Legal in California?
A: Yes, piece-rate work is considered legal in California, as long as the rate offered works out to be at least minimum wage or higher. Because of this, employers cannot offer extremely low rates or abuse their workers just because they are working under the piece rate system. To check that you are making a fair wage, divide your weekly gross pay by the number of hours you worked per week. This is your hourly rate.
Q: What Is Section 554 of the California Labor Code?
A: Section 554 of the California Labor Code outlines the schedule for employee rest days or days off. This section states that employees must receive days of rest or days off equivalent to one day’s worth of rest for every seven hours worked. The code makes scheduling these days off slightly more flexible. It allows for over seven days to go by between days off, as long as the employee gets a day off for every week.
Q: Is It Better to Get Paid by the Hour or by the Piece?
A: The payment system that is best depends on the industry, job, and your personal preference. Some people enjoy getting paid by the project or unit rather than hourly because it can motivate them to stay focused and maximize their time. Others like the assurance of an hourly wage. As long as your employer is paying you fairly, the method of payment is based on your personal preference and industry.
Q: Are Piece-Rate Workers Employees?
A: Sometimes piece-rate workers are employees, and sometimes they are not. Although piecework payments are most common for non-employee contractors or consultants, people who are considered employees can also be paid at a piece rate. If you are concerned or confused about whether you are an employee or not, be sure to clarify with human resources or look at your contract. Our attorneys can also help you navigate this process if you need assistance or support.
Contact Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers
Your employment is essential to your ability to pay for food, shelter, and other necessities. Without income, you cannot support your family or lifestyle, which can lead to large-scale problems. This is also true when your employer is paying you incorrectly. If your employer is paying you unfairly, stealing your wages, or otherwise behaving illegally, you need to take action to protect the life that you have worked for.
Our team of expert attorneys is here to help you with any employment law claim that you may have. Our expertise gives you an advantage and ensures that you can get back to business as quickly as possible.
For more information, contact Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers via our website.