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California 4-Hour Minimum Shift Law 2024: What You Need to Know

Posted on September 2, 2023 | Employment Law

While some employees may work fixed hours every week, others face varying schedules every day. This is because many industry jobs are reliant on customer and patient activity. Slow days at a business or healthcare facility often cause managers to send employees home early or call them off completely. This can heavily impact an employee who was relying on that shift to help pay their bills.

Luckily, California’s 4-hour minimum shift law helps to protect employees who lose some or all of their shifts by providing them with minimum pay. With a Los Angeles, CA, wage and hour lawyer, you can ensure your rights are protected. Learn about the rights granted to employees through the 4-hour minimum law below.

What Is California’s 4-Hour Minimum Shift Law?

While sometimes referred to as the “4-hour minimum shift” law, this piece of legislation goes by multiple names. You may often hear it called the “reporting time pay” law or “show-up pay” law as well. Regardless of what name is used, the ultimate goal of this law is to secure compensation for a California employee who is called in but works less than half of their normal shift. This helps to encourage smarter scheduling on your employer’s behalf. If an employee is called in and does not receive their scheduled amount of work, their employer must pay for at least half of their assigned shift. If the employer fails to give show-up pay, this is a wage violation. Reporting time pay is available to nonexempt employees who meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • You are scheduled to go to work.
  • There is no work for you once you arrive, or you are only given less than half of your expected workload.
  • Your employer sent you home because your shift was slow.

When Are You Not Eligible for Reporting Time Pay in California?

While show-up pay is now a requirement of California law, there are some circumstances where an employee may not be eligible to receive it. If one of the following applies to your situation, you will not be given reporting time pay:

There Is a Utility Emergency

Utility emergencies are unpredictable and can happen at any time. Because they affect the business as a whole and are not a direct result of business activity, being sent home or called off because of a utility emergency is not a valid reason to receive show-up pay. Examples of utility emergencies include:

  • Burst pipes
  • Flooding of the business space
  • Gas leaks
  • Electrical outages
  • Backed up sewage

Officials Recommend That Businesses Close or Not Open

Sometimes public authorities will take it upon themselves to tell businesses to stay closed. Because this usually happens during emergencies, you’re not eligible for reporting time pay if your business had to close because of public notice. For example, when the pandemic was at its peak, many businesses were told they had to close for quarantine if one or more of their employees caught COVID.

There Are Safety Threats

If you are sent home or called out of work because there are immediate threats to your safety or the safety of your workplace, you cannot receive show-up pay. This is because an employer does not have any control over the threats that are taking place and has to close their business as a form of protection.

“Acts of God” That Are Out of Your Employer’s Control

According to California wage laws, if an “Act of God” or issue that is out of an employer’s control occurs, they do not have to pay their employees show-up wages. An “Act of God” is defined as any kind of natural disaster or unpredictable event that is beyond human control. This means that if your work closes due to a hurricane or earthquake, your employer is not required to offer reporting time pay.

FAQs

Q: How Much Is Reporting Time Pay?

A: Unlike other types of benefits, reporting time pay in California is equal to your assigned pay rate. This means that if your employer gives you “show-up pay,” it should be equal to your hourly wages plus any commissions or bonuses. If they’re receiving reporting time pay, an employee can be given anything from a minimum pay equal to 2 hours of work to a maximum pay equal to 4 hours of work.

Q: Does Reporting Time Pay Impact Overtime Pay in California?

A: Many workers who receive show-up pay are unsure whether the hours they were paid for count as actual shift time. In California, reporting time pay is meant to act as a punishment for employers who schedule their workers poorly and don’t compensate them. This means that you are being paid due to a penalty on their behalf, not because of the actual work that you performed. Because show-up pay is a form of compensation not based on formal work time, the hours you are paid for do not count towards your overtime.

Q: What Is the Shortest Shift You Can Work in California?

A: Because California allows employers to control their businesses quite freely, there are no laws that dictate the minimum hours an employee has to work. For example, this means that if your employer believes it is beneficial, they can schedule you for two hours per day if they want to. There is no “minimum” shift length or specific amount of hours you must work to be compensated fairly.

Q: What Is a Split Shift?

A: As defined by the California Department of Industrial Relations, a split shift is simply a shift that is broken up by non-working time. Split shifts are most common in the service industry, where servers are often asked to come in for the morning rush and then come back for dinner service. For a shift to be considered split, there must be a period of time where the employee is asked to be off the clock for longer than 30 minutes.

Your Los Angeles Employment Law Firm

Knowing your rights as an employee while trying to understand complex wage laws can be difficult. If you’re dealing with any sort of employment law issue, ranging from wage and hour violations to discriminatory behaviors, don’t wait to speak to an employment lawyer who cares. Contact Nosratilaw, A Professional Law Corporation, for effective employment law aid here in Los Angeles.

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