Whether you work for a small business or a large corporation, employee benefits are probably on your mind.
You may wonder what you are legally entitled to and what benefits are the cherry on top of your compensation package.
In this post, the Workplace Rights Law Group will break down what benefits are mandatory employee benefits under state and federal law and what you can expect from your employer.
Our experienced team of California labor and employment lawyers can help you understand what you are entitled to and work with you to obtain the compensation package you deserve.
What Are Legally Required Employee Benefits?
Legally required employee benefits are also sometimes called “statutory benefits.”
These benefits are mandated by state or federal law. Unfortunately, many of these laws only offer mandatory employee benefits to full-time employees.
While an employer is free to offer additional benefits, federal legally required employee benefits include:
- Minimum wage,
- Social Security,
- Overtime pay,
- Unemployment insurance,
- Workers’ compensation insurance, and
- Time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Legally required employee benefits can vary by state and even local jurisdiction, so it is essential to consult the specific laws and regulations that apply to your location.
We will review California’s mandatory employee benefits below, but you should know that individual cities may have laws requiring your employer to provide additional benefits.
Speak with a California workplace rights lawyer to confirm the benefits you are entitled to.
Understanding Your Mandatory Employee Benefits
While we have provided a brief overview of the benefits you may be entitled to, there are other circumstances where an employer must provide additional protection.
In some cases, however, these benefits may be restricted to certain professions or industries. In other cases, the benefits may only be mandatory for employers of a certain size.
We will cover some everyday situations where a statutory benefit may be available, but you should speak to a labor lawyer to find out what covers you.
Meal and Rest Breaks
Some jurisdictions mandate employee meal and rest breaks, specifying the duration and frequency of these breaks.
Federal law does not require your employer to offer you a break or compensate you for breaks taken.
However, California law mandates that you receive appropriate rest and meal breaks and, in some circumstances, may require your employer to pay you during your break.
In some industries, such as the airline industry, the law requires mandatory rest periods, even if they are not compensable.
If you are concerned about not receiving the meal and break benefits you should be getting, contact an experienced labor and employment lawyer today.
Paid Time Off (PTO)
No federal or California state law mandates paid time off for any employee.
However, if your employer does offer paid time off and you believe the program was administered in a discriminatory way or that you have been denied leave you were entitled to, you may be protected.
Additionally, the government has previously required some paid time off and protections for families coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you believe you were denied paid time off during 2020-2021, speak with a California labor lawyer as soon as possible.
The window may be closing on your ability to seek compensation if your employer did not protect you during the pandemic.
Family and Medical Leave
While the U.S. currently has no laws mandating paid parental leave or family leave, there are still laws such as FMLA in the United States that provide eligible employees with unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons.
These legally required benefits are only for qualifying employees when an employer has over 50 workers.
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) may provide additional benefits.
While this leave is also unpaid, it may apply to smaller employers.
This law protects your job when you need to care for yourself or a family member.
Pension and Retirement Plans
Under recently enacted California law, any employer with more than five employees must offer their employees a retirement plan.
Larger employers may have a 401(k) or other plan to offer and even match employee contributions.
However, the California law only requires that employers offer a plan or enroll employees in a program called CalSavers, a retirement plan backed by the state.
Ensure that you are signed up and able to contribute to your plan–this benefit is protected by law!
These are some commonly mandated legally required employee benefits and labor regulations.
Still, the specifics can vary widely depending on where you are located and the nature of your work.
Consulting with legal counsel can help you get a handle on what benefits you should be enjoying and help you obtain compensation for any benefits that have been withheld.
Is There Anything Additional to Know About Mandated Employee Benefits in California?
We have covered most of the mandatory employee benefits you may be entitled to under state and federal law.
However, you should know that in California, you may also be entitled to additional benefits that the federal government does not require.
State Disability Insurance
In California, employers are also required to deduct and contribute to the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program, which provides partial wage replacement to eligible employees who cannot work due to non-work-related illnesses or injuries, including pregnancy.
This program may also cover your expenses for certain types of family leave. A California labor and employment lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for this benefit.
Paid Sick Leave
California law requires employers to provide at least 24 hours or 3 workdays of paid sick leave to employees who meet certain criteria.
Employees must work for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year in California and complete 90 days of employment before they become eligible for this mandatory benefit. The law applies to full-time, part-time, and temporary employees.
How a Labor Lawyer Can Help
At the Workplace Rights Law Group, our dedicated labor and employment attorneys are passionate about getting you the help you need to claim the benefits you deserve.
We tailor our representation to your unique needs and can advocate for you when your livelihood is on the line. Contact us today for a free case review.