Legal Question in Employment Law in California

Minimum hours per shift

A friend of mine is employed as a "hostess" at a local restaurant. She has regularly scheduled shifts of anywhere from three to six hours, but many times, after working as little as 30 to 45 minutes of her shift, she is told that she is not needed and is then sent home. Is there a minimum hours per shift regulation in CA? And is an employer allowed to "dismiss" an employee for the day after such a short period of time? What is her best option (other than finding a new job) to solve this problem?

Asked on 11/03/99, 12:59 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Thomas Pavone Pavone & Cohen

Re: Minimum hours per shift

California does have a reporting pay requirement in most of the Wage Orders. Wage Order No. 5-98 covering work in the Public Housekeeping Industry has such a provision. It reads:

A) Each workday an employee is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to work or is furnished less than half said

employee's usual or scheduled day's work, the employee shall be paid for half the usual or scheduled day's work, but in no event for

less than two (2) hours nor more than four (4) hours, at the employee's regular rate of pay, which shall not be less than the minimum wage.

(B) If an employee is required to report for work a second time in any one workday and is furnished less than two hours of work on

the second reporting, said employee shall be paid for two hours at the employee's regular rate of pay, which shall not be less than the

minimum wage.

(C) The foregoing reporting time pay provisions are not applicable when:

(1) Operations cannot commence or continue due to threats to employees or property; or when

recommended by civil authorities; or

(2) Public utilities fail to supply electricity, water, or gas, or there is a failure in the public utilities, or sewer

system; or

(3) The interruption of work is caused by an Act of God or other cause not within the employer's control.

(D) This section shall not apply to an employee on paid standby status who is called to perform assigned work at a time other than the employee's scheduled reporting time.

The remedy for a violation of the wage order is a claim filed with the State of California Labor Commissioner. She should be entitled to a minimum of two hour for each work day, or one half of the hours scheduled. If she is terminated for making the claim, she will also have a claim for the termination (a lawyer would be helpful as it may be better to file a civil complaint for the termination), in addition, if she is terminated with the wages for reporting pay unpaid, she may be entitled to waiting time penalties (daily wages, up to a maximum of 30 days) under the labor code.

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Answered on 11/06/99, 1:55 pm

Ken Koury Kenneth P. Koury, Esq.

Re: Minimum hours per shift

There is no minimum hours requirement but she must be paid for all time worked, even if only for a few minutes.

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Answered on 11/04/99, 12:33 pm

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