If you are a worker in the State of California and you think you have suffered wage theft, then you need to file a wage claim.
When you file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office, you are taking the first step in the process of collecting all unpaid wages and/or benefits.
But how do you file a wage claim and what qualifies as a theft of wage and/or benefits that would require you to file a claim?
Qualifying reasons for filing a wage claim
The most common reasons someone would need to file a wage claim against an employer in the state of California is non-payment of the state minimum wage and non-payment of overtime.
Non-payment of the state minimum wage: In California, there is a mandated yearly increase to the state minimum wage for the years spanning 2017 to 2023.
There are two separate increase schedules for businesses with 25 or fewer employees and businesses with 26 or more employees.
If you have not been receiving these increases as scheduled, you should file a wage claim to get back pay for all hours worked at the incorrect wage. Also, if at any time you have been paid below the current state minimum wage, then file a claim as well.
Non-payment of overtime: Any non-exempt employee in the state of California is entitled to overtime pay of “time and a half” for any time worked over eight hours in a workday or over 40 hours in any workweek.
Also, overtime pay is required for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.
Double pay is required for any employee who works over 12 hours in any workday and for any hours worked past eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.
This is the law. Employees are not allowed to waive their right to overtime pay and employers are required by penalty of law to pay overtime.
A few other qualifying reasons to file a wage claim include failure to provide rest and/or meal periods, failure to provide itemized wage statements, and failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance.
If you feel your rights as a worker have been violated in the state of California, seek legal support, and begin the process of filing a wage claim immediately.