Hands Off My Wages! Five Steps Employers Can Take to Comply With the Notice Requirements of California’s Wage Theft Protection Act
By: Aaron Rothrock
California’s Wage Theft Prevention Act requires employers to provide most employees with written notice of their compensation and certain rights under the Labor Code. Here are five steps employers can take to ensure compliance with the notice requirements.
1. Include the Proper Information
Labor Code section 2810.5 has specific requirements for what information must be included in a notice to employees. The notice must be in writing and include the employee’s rate of pay and basis thereof (e.g., hourly, commission), any applicable overtime rates, designated pay day, and any allowances (e.g., meal, lodging) claimed as part of the minimum wage. The notice must also include the employer’s name (including any “doing business as” name), main office address, mailing address, and telephone number. The name, address, and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier must also appear. The notice must also specify that an employee may accrue and use sick leave, has the right to request and use accrued paid sick leave, may not be terminated or retaliated against for using or requesting accrued paid sick leave, and has a right to file a complaint against an employer who retaliates.
The information required under section 2810.5 must be listed within a single document. Employers should also take note that section 2810.5 excludes employees who are either directly employed by the state, exempt from overtime wages, or covered by certain types of collective bargaining agreements.
2. When In Doubt, Use the DLSE’s Template
While employers are free to use their own custom notices, California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) maintains a template notice with all required information. Employers that wish to use their own notices should review the template to ensure that they include all necessary information.
3. Get the Timing Right
Section 2810.5 requires employers to provide employees with notice “at the time of hiring,” which can be no later than the employee’s start date for work. If there is a change to the information listed in the notice that does not appear on the employee’s pay stub, the employer must provide a revised written notice within seven days of the change. Management should coordinate with HR to ensure that notices are issued on time.
4. Consider Including an Acknowledgment of Receipt
Although it is not required, employers may choose to include an acknowledgment of receipt with the notice. Doing so will help reduce disputes about employee receipt of proper notice.
5. Take Care When Providing Notice to Exempt Employees
Although exempt employees are excluded from the notice requirements of section 2810.5, some employers still give notice to these employees in accordance with company HR procedures. In such cases, employers should take care when specifying the rate and basis of pay. Accidentally listing an exempt employee as being paid on an hourly basis creates an inconsistency that could be problematic if a claim for unpaid overtime wages arises. Employers can help protect themselves by taking care to enter the correct information.
For more information, contact the author of this post or visit our Labor & Employment Practice page to find an attorney in your area.