Restaurant Worker Rights

Restaurant Worker Rights

California restaurant workers have rights. Whether you are a documented, or undocumented worker in California, you have rights protected by state laws that guarantee payment of wages for work performed.

You have the right to be paid minimum wage and accept tips.

California restaurant workers must be paid minimum wage whether the pay is measured in time, piece rate, commission or other method of calculation.
Below is a Schedule for California Minimum Wage rate 2017-2023.
DateMinimum Wage for Employers with 25 Employees or LessMinimum Wage for Employers with 26 Employees or More
January 1, 2017$10.00/hour$10.50/hour
January 1, 2018$10.50/hour$11.00/hour
January 1, 2019$11.00/hour$12.00/hour
January 1, 2020$12.00/hour$13.00/hour
January 1, 2021$13.00/hour$14.00/hour
January 1, 2022$14.00/hour$15.00/hour
January 1, 2023$15.00/hour

This is the California minimum wage. Some cities and counties have enacted higher minimum wages.
Tips cannot be used as payment toward the minimum wage.
Employees who serve customers are entitled to receive any portion of gratuity payments from customers. However, your employer may require a tip pooling arrangement for you to share your tips with waitpersons, buspersons, and bartenders.

You have the right to a 10-minute rest break.

You must be permitted to take a 10- minute rest period for every four hours worked or major fraction thereof (3.5 hours) which shall be in the middle of each work period to the extent possible. So, your employer should not be “stacking” your breaks. Your 10-minute break must be paid. If your employer does not provide you a rest period, your employer must pay you one additional hour of pay at your regular rate of pay for each workday the rest period is not allowed.

You have the right to a 30-minute meal period.

You are entitled to a meal period of at least 30 minutes if you work more than five hours. You must be relieved of all work duty during your meal period. Each workday you are not provided a meal period, or you perform work during your meal period, your employer must pay you one additional hour of pay at your regular rate of pay. You have the right to a clean meal and rest area.

You have the right to be provided tools and supplies necessary to do your work.

Tools, supplies and uniforms (required by your employer) should be provided and maintained by
your employer at no cost to you. If you earn two times the minimum wage, you may be asked to provide and maintain the hand tools required to do your work (i.e. chef knives, cooking utensils). Your employer must provide you with regular workplace health and safety training. If you are required to use your own vehicle for work-related responsibilities or purchase gasoline for a company vehicle, your employer must reimburse those expenses and compensate you for your travel time.

You have the right to a paystub, or wage statement every time you are paid your wages.

Whether you are paid by check, in cash or otherwise, you must receive a pay stub or a written wage statement showing among other things: your employer’s name, address and telephone number; your name; either your employee ID number or the last 4 digits of your social security number; gross wages earned; all deductions; and the dates for the period you are being paid. You have the right to a regularly scheduled payday and your employer must comply with the established payday. Your employer also has the legal obligation to keep records about you, your work hours and your pay.

You have the right to be paid every time your employer asks you to report to work.

Each workday you are required to report for work and you do report, but you are not put to work or you are furnished less than half of your usual or scheduled day’s work, you shall be paid for half the usual or scheduled day’s work, but in no event for less than two hours nor more than four hours, at your regular rate of pay.

You have the right to be paid for a split shift.

Split shift is a work schedule interrupted by non-paid and non-working time periods established by your employer (and it is not a rest or a meal period). If you are paid the minimum wage and work a split shift, you may be entitled to an additional one-hour’s pay at the minimum wage.

You have the right to be paid overtime.

You should be paid overtime pay (one-and one-half times your regular rate of pay) if you work more than eight hours per workday or 40 hours per workweek. If you work more than 12 hours per workday, you are entitled to receive double time rate (twice your hourly rate). You may be entitled to overtime or double time pay even if you work less than 40 hours per workweek.

If you are a non-exempt employee (like a manager who is constantly waiting tables, or seating people) and you are paid a salary, you are still entitled to overtime.

You have the right to be paid all wages by your employer the same day you are terminated, or within 72 hours of quitting.

If you are terminated, your employer must pay you all wages due immediately. If you voluntarily quit without giving 72 hours prior notice, your employer must pay you within 72 hours. If your employer fails to pay you, they may be penalized and required to pay you the equivalent of one-day’s salary for each day delayed in paying your wages (up to a maximum of 30 days).

If you work in a restaurant and your right are being violated, you should contact an experienced employment attorney today.

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