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Featured / October 22, 2023

Navigating Employment Law During Uncertain Times: The Impact of the Pandemic on Wage and Hour Laws in California

As a reputable employment law firm in California, we understand the challenges that employees have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has not only disrupted daily life but also brought significant changes to the workplace, leaving many employees uncertain about their rights and protections. In this blog post, we will explore the impact of the pandemic on wage and hour laws in California and how it has influenced the landscape of employee rights and compensation.

Remote Work and Overtime:

With the shift to remote work during the pandemic, many employees have had to adapt to new work arrangements. For non-exempt employees, tracking work hours outside the traditional office setting can be challenging. California's wage and hour laws still apply to remote workers, and employers must ensure accurate record-keeping and pay for all hours worked, including overtime.

Wage Reductions and Minimum Wage:

To cope with economic challenges, some employers implemented wage reductions during the pandemic. However, California's minimum wage laws remain in effect, and employers must adhere to the state's minimum wage requirements. Non-exempt employees must receive the state's minimum wage, and exempt employees' salaries should meet the minimum salary thresholds to retain their exempt status.

Meal and Rest Breaks:

The pandemic's disruptions have led to changes in work schedules and breaks for many employees. However, California labor laws still mandate that non-exempt employees receive meal and rest breaks, even during remote work. Employers must provide employees with adequate break time and ensure they are relieved of all work duties during these breaks.

Reimbursement of Remote Work Expenses:

As employees shifted to remote work, they may have incurred additional expenses, such as internet costs or office supplies. Under California law, employers are generally required to reimburse employees for necessary job-related expenses. Remote employees may be eligible for reimbursement of specific remote work-related expenses.

Workplace Safety and Health:

The pandemic highlighted the significance of workplace safety and health. Employers must provide a safe working environment and comply with health and safety regulations. Additionally, employees have the right to take job-protected leave if they contract COVID-19 or need to care for a family member with the virus.

Filing Wage Claims:

During the pandemic, some employers may have violated wage and hour laws, resulting in unpaid wages or other violations. California employees still have the right to file wage claims with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) to seek recovery for unpaid wages and address other wage violations.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant changes to the workplace and impacted wage and hour laws in California. As an employment law firm, we are dedicated to supporting employees during these uncertain times. Even in the face of the pandemic's challenges, California labor laws remain in effect to protect employee rights and ensure fair compensation. If you have experienced unpaid wages, missed breaks, or unreimbursed expenses during the pandemic, we are here to advocate for your rights and seek just resolutions.

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