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How employment laws impact small businesses

Small business owners in California and around the country should be aware of both state and federal employment laws. While small businesses may be exempt from some statutes, it is still a good idea to understand the basics of what the law says. For example, it is important to know that the federal minimum wage for non-tipped workers is $7.25 an hour. Minimum wage must be paid if a business makes more than $500,000 in sales.

Those who work more then 40 hours in a week must be paid 150 percent of their normal wages for each hour worked over that threshold. Employers are generally required to provide rest breaks that employees are paid for. State law generally dictates that workers must be given meal breaks of 30 minutes or more for which they are not paid. OSHA mandates that employees have access to restrooms whenever they need to use them.

Small businesses need to make sure that they properly classify their workers. Exempt workers generally get paid a salary and are executives within the company or otherwise hold positions of authority. Companies may be tempted to incorrectly classify workers as exempt to avoid paying overtime, and these workers are not subject to minimum wage laws. Employers should also be aware that the Family and Medical Leave Act allows workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without risk of losing their job.

Those who feel as if their employee rights have been violated may wish to talk with an attorney. Employment violations may occur when a worker is not paid overtime, is improperly classified to avoid paying minimum wage or is improperly denied meal or rest breaks. An attorney could use employee statements or pay records as evidence that these activities may have taken place within a company.

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