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California's Requirements for Timekeeping at Work

Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian has an MBA and is a real estate investor, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

In this lesson we will review the basics of California's requirements for keeping track of the hours that employees work. We will also look at employee and employer responsibilities.

California Timekeeping Records

Hannah operates a small preschool in California and employs three other teachers to take care of the children. As part of her payroll process she needs to make sure that her teachers are paid for the hours they work and take paid meal breaks and rest periods. Under California law, she must follow specific guidelines for accurately recording these hours. The laws can be found in Section 7 of each Industrial Welfare Commission Order, as well as Sections 226 and 1174 of the California Labor Code. Let's take a look at what Hannah must do to comply with these timekeeping laws.

Required Information

Hannah must maintain payroll records that contain each employee's full name, home address, occupation title, and Social Security number. These serve to verify the identity of each employee and provide accurate ways of contacting the employee or sending tax withholding to the IRS. If Hannah hires someone under 18, the records must contain a date of birth and identify that person as a minor.

Employee time cards must show when each teacher begins and ends work each shift. Hannah must also make sure that if a teacher works a split shift - where the teacher works for a period, leaves, and then comes back later in the day for a separate shift - that all the working hours are accounted for. Time taken for meal periods must also be indicated on the payroll records. Timekeeping records must make a note of how many hours each employee works on a given day.

Hannah's records must show how much each employee has been paid in a payroll period. In industries where employees are furnished housing, meals, or other kinds of compensation, the value of those must also be included. Records must show how many hours were worked, as well as the rate of pay for those hours. If the compensation structure involves being paid based on the number of pieces or tasks completed, the records must note how the payment system works to keep employees informed of how they earn their pay.

Additional Requirements

At least twice per month, or whenever else Hannah pays her employees, payroll statements must be made for each person that either includes a check, voucher, or direct deposit notice. This statement must show the name of Hannah's company and have the employee's name and Social Security number. It must clearly identify the period for which these wages were earned, as well as all deductions taken out for items such as taxes or benefits.

Hannah must write these records in English using ink or some other permanent method, and maintain the information for at least three years. Employees have the right to request their records for inspection. Hannah must make sure that clocks are located in major working areas of the company so that employees can keep track of time.

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