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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

The CARES Act provides expanded unemployment benefits to eligible workers.

As the country continues to struggle with the challenges due to COVID-19, labor laws have been adapting to the pandemic, and employees must be aware of their rights. One area that has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 is the laws regarding unemployment benefits. The federal and state laws that govern unemployment benefits have always been complicated, and are especially difficult to understand now with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) that was enacted in March 2020. CARES expanded weekly unemployment benefits by as much as $600 a week to eligible workers and have proven to be vital to many families during the pandemic. While there have been a myriad of issues and concerns regarding CARES, there is no denying that to many unemployed workers relied on the additional funds as the nation’s unemployment rate sky-rocketed. Moreover, many states were overwhelmed with the volume of applications, and benefits were delayed.

While it is uncertain whether the CARES Act will be extended, the federal government provided some clarification on July 22, 2020.  For example, a worker may refuse to accept a job offer because the job is unsafe and continue to collect the additional financial benefits provided under CARES. The states, however, will determine what is considered to be safe work conditions, and if a state determines the job or work conditions are not “suitable,” then the worker may receive the expanded unemployment benefits under CARES. Most states already had suitable work place provisions in place prior to COVID-19, and the general criteria is whether the work unreasonably exposes the worker to unsuitable safety risks. Labor laws have always guaranteed a safe work environment, which is particularly important during a pandemic. Notably, a worker cannot refuse a job offer and seek expanded unemployment benefits due to a general fear of COVID-19.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the state may also determine that a job is unsuitable if a worker refuses the job due to virus-related reasons such as increased risk of COVID-19 due to an underlying medical condition. The state may also determine a job is unsuitable if a worker claims “good cause,” although the federal government has not specifically defined what is considered to be “good cause” which means that states must decide that issue. Fortunately, workers in California benefit from some of the country’s strongest state labor law protections, and this is one example of how an experienced labor law attorney will be able to argue your case by understanding state laws to protect your rights when federal law is not clear.

The federal government also clarified that some out-of-work employees are not eligible for CARES benefits depending on what caused the loss of the job. For example, if a worker is unemployed due to a reason not related to COVID-19, that worker is not eligible for expanded benefits even if jobs are not available due to COVID-19 related circumstances. The reason for this is because CARES was enacted to assist workers who faced unemployment specifically due to the pandemic, and is not broad enough to include workers who did not lose their jobs due to reasons unrelated to COVID-19. Fortunately, those workers may still be eligible for regular unemployment benefits.  

Prior to COVID-19, workers who quit their jobs without “good cause” were generally not eligible for unemployment benefits. However, under the CARES Act, certain reasons related to COVID-19 would allow a worker to qualify for expanded unemployment benefits under CARES. For example, a worker who quits a job because of mandatory quarantine, or the need to provide care to a family member with COVID-19 could be considered “good cause” for the purposes of CARES benefits.

While the federal government continues to debate whether to extend benefits under the CARES Act or perhaps craft new legislation, the states may decide to adopt new policies regarding eligibility in the meantime. However, since unemployment benefits are a hybrid of federal and state law, the states must adhere to federal law and provide at least the minimum benefits afforded under federal laws. Also, as more states work towards re-opening and more businesses are hiring, states may become stricter in determining eligibility for unemployment benefits. As we have learned, during a pandemic, it is important to be informed and be ready to take full advantage of any benefits you are eligible for. Plan ahead and consult an experienced labor law attorney so you will have an advocate that will not only understand the quickly changing laws and benefits, but will be able to guide you and protect your rights during these uncertain times.

FREE CONSULTATION

Srourian Law Firm, with locations in Los Angeles, Westwood, Woodland Hills, and Orange County is experienced in all aspects of employment law including unemployment benefits and have aggressively represented employees in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Orange, Irvine, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Tustin, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Garden Grove, Laguna Niguel, Brea, Fountain Valley, Aliso Viejo, Yorba Linda, Westminster, Laguna Hills, Cypress, and La Habra.

If you or someone you know suffered employment violations involving unemployment benefits, you may have certain employee rights under state and federal law, and may be entitled to compensation as a part of the class action lawsuit. Please contact us to speak with one of our lawyers for a free consultation.


Most people eagerly await payday in order to pay rent and bills on time, or maybe to splurge a little. Getting a late paycheck, regardless of the reason, is not only frustrating, but it could be against the law. Under California labor laws, employers must pay you on time, or they are violating your rights and breaking the law.

In general, employees must be paid by a certain date depending on whether paychecks are issued every two weeks (bi-weekly) or twice a month (bi-monthly). There are some narrow exceptions that apply to certain types of employees, such as salaried monthly executives, but the vast majority of employees are protected under California Labor Code section 204(a).

California Labor Code § 204(a) (in relevant part)

Labor performed between the 1st and 15th days, inclusive, of any calendar month shall be paid for between the 16th and the 26th day of the month during which the labor was performed, and labor performed between the 16th and the last day, inclusive, of any calendar month, shall be paid for between the 1st and 10th day of the following month.

For example, if an employee is paid twice a month, the pay period is often divided into the 1st through 15 days of the month; and the 16th through the last day of the month. Under California law, employers must issue paychecks no later than the 26th of the month for the first pay period, and the 10th of the following month for the second pay period.

For employees that are paid every two weeks, or weekly, the law requires employers issue checks within seven calendar days after each pay period. Failure to issue timely paychecks could subject employers to significant penalties.  

Also, according to California Labor Code section 204(b)(1), Employees have a right to be paid for overtime by the next regular paycheck. That means if you accrue overtime during a particular pay period, those extra wages must be included in the next paycheck. Again, if your employer fails to pay you overtime wage on time, your rights have been violated and you should seek legal advice.

FREE CONSULTATION

Srourian Law Firm, with locations in Los Angeles, Westwood, Woodland Hills, and Orange County is experienced in all aspects of employment law including failure to receive paychecks on time and have aggressively represented employees in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Orange, Irvine, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Tustin, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Garden Grove, Laguna Niguel, Brea, Fountain Valley, Aliso Viejo, Yorba Linda, Westminster, Laguna Hills, Cypress, and La Habra.

If you or someone you know suffered employment violations as an employee such as not receiving paychecks on times in California, you may have certain employee rights under state and federal law and may be entitled to unpaid wages, interest, attorneys’ fees and costs, and/or be entitled to compensation as a part of the class action lawsuit. Please contact us to speak with one of our experienced lawyers for a free consultation.


California labor laws provide many protections to employees that often exceed federal labor laws. Therefore, it is important to know the various state laws designed to ensure your rights as an employee are not violated by employers. Fundamentally, labor laws and regulations are highly specific and often difficult to understand since laws are amended, enacted or repealed regularly, so it is important to consult with an experienced labor law attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

Often, employees do not realize that they have the right to timely, accurate wage statements each pay period with nine categories of information included in each wage statement. A wage statement, or pay stub, is the document an employer must provide employees every pay period that explains how the paycheck was calculated.

According to California Labor Code section 226, there are nine categories of information that must be included in every wage statement:

• gross wages

• total hours worked

• piece-rate units earned and any rate if employee is paid on a piece-rate basis

• all deductions from wages

• net wages

• dates of pay period

• employee’s name and the last four digits of social security number

• full name and address of the employer

• applicable hourly rates.

Some requirements are not required for exempt employees such as salaried employees. Additionally, section 246(h) of the California Labor Code requires employers advise employees each pay period of any paid sick leave they have accrued. While this is not specifically required on each wage statement, many employers include this information on wage statements as a matter of convenience. This information is particularly vital to any employee who seeks paid sick leave, which is guaranteed by the California Sick Paid Leave Law.

ACCURATE WAGE STATEMENTS ARE REQUIRED BY LAW

California law is clear that employers have a legal obligation to provide accurate wage statements to employees each pay period even if a third-party payroll company used. An employer who fails to comply with the law and violates an employee’s rights may face large fines and penalties, even for minor mistakes. The requirements are strict, and must be followed exactly. For example, the mandatory wage information must be on the face of the wage statement. In other words, the law is not being followed if the employee must find the required wage information on another document besides the wage statement.

In addition to possible fines and penalties, an employee has the right to file a lawsuit against the employer for “knowing and intentional” failure to comply with the law. If successful, an employee who has suffered an injury due to inaccurate or missing wage statements may be entitled to monetary damages.

FREE CONSULTATION

Srourian Law Firm, with locations in Los Angeles, Westwood, Woodland Hills, and Orange County is experienced in all aspects of employment law including failure to provide accurate wage statements and have aggressively represented employees in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Orange, Irvine, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Tustin, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Garden Grove, Laguna Niguel, Brea, Fountain Valley, Aliso Viejo, Yorba Linda, Westminster, Laguna Hills, Cypress, and La Habra.

If you or someone you know suffered employment violations as an employee such as not receiving accurate wage statements in California, you may have certain employee rights under state and federal law and may be entitled to unpaid wages, interest, attorneys’ fees and costs, and/or be entitled to compensation as a part of the class action lawsuit. Please contact us to speak with one of our experienced lawyers for a free consultation.


Phone: 213.474.3800
Fax: 213.471.4160