Friday, October 16, 2009

Domestic Workers Are Entitled To Minimum Wage

In California, most employees are entitled by law to receive the minimum wage of $8 per hour. The only exceptions to the minimum wage law are:

  • Outside salespersons

  • The parent, spouse, or child of the employer

  • Apprentices regularly indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards

  • Learners

  • Employees who are mentally or physically disabled, or both

  • Nonprofit organizations such as sheltered workshops or rehabilitation facilities that employ disabled workers

However, even with the minimum wage law, there are still employees, like Vilma Serralta, a live-in housekeeper, who are deprived of their due salary.

Serralta, a naturalized citizen from El Salvador, recently settled her lawsuit for an undisclosed amount against her employer of four years after she was paid $1,000 to $1,300 a month despite working 14 hours a day. She cleaned their six-bathroom home, prepared their food and took care of the couple’s 3-year old daughter.

All employers in California are required to pay the minimum wage unless their employees fall among the above-mentioned exceptions.

The payment of the minimum wage is part of an employee’s rights and it cannot even be waived by any agreement, even collective bargaining agreements.

Employees, no matter how menial the tasks they perform may be, if they are covered by the minimum wage law, are entitled to receive their due wages. They can file a wage claim against their employer with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (the Labor Commissioner's Office). They may also file a lawsuit in court against the employer to recover the lost wages.