Every state has the theoretical authority to pass laws that are stronger than federal regulations, so long as state rules meet minimum federal requirements. When it comes to employment regulations, some states have a reputation for being very business-friendly, while others develop policies that make them better for workers.
California is among the states with the most employee protections in place. State law in California expands on numerous important federal rules, making the state a better place to live for those who work and who may eventually experience challenges in their lives that affect their careers. All three of the laws below are examples of how California state lawmakers have improved and expanded upon federal concepts.
The California Family Rights Act
When lawmakers first passed the Family and Medical Leave Act FMLA, it was a groundbreaking piece of legislation. The FMLA created rules that give workers the right to take unpaid leave when their personal circumstances and employment history meet certain requirements. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) enshrines many of the same protections as the FMLA while simultaneously expanding them. It applies to more companies and to more relationships than the FMLA does.
Expanded overtime laws
Federal overtime rules apply when a non-exempt worker puts in more than 40 hours in a seven-day workweek. Those rules also apply in California, but state law has expanded the circumstances in which someone qualifies for 150% of their usual hourly wage. Overtime pay rules apply when a company makes someone work more than eight hours in a single shift. The state also applies overtime rules to workers who must clock in seven days in a row. Standard overtime pay will apply for the first eight hours of their seventh consecutive day of work. The state also orders double wages for hours worked past the 12th hour or the eighth hour on the seventh consecutive day of work.
The right to bereavement leave
Workers in California have the right to take up to five days of unpaid leave for bereavement when immediate family members of a worker die. Such leave is an option when someone’s spouse, child, parent, singling, grandparent, grandchild or parent-in-law dies.
Understanding how California employment laws increase the opportunities for workers across the state may benefit individuals who find themselves in a difficult position on the job and who are wondering whether the law backs up their position or their employer’s.