Do Family Members Have to Be Paid in California?
Working for a family member may be a sensitive subject, but it is one that does come up occasionally. If you have been working for a relative in a family-run business, or if your boss just so happens to be a relative, that does not necessarily mean that they can get away with not paying you.
If you are being exploited or taken advantage of because you are related to your boss, please know that your family member may be violating California’s wage and hour laws.
Whether you’re working for your brother, your aunt, or your second cousin, they have the same obligations to pay you as they would any other employee. Continue reading below for a clearer explanation of your rights.
Family Members Are ‘Employees’
Let’s say that you’re working for your aunt at her bakery for four hours a day for free. She doesn’t consider you an employee, so she refuses to pay you. Is this legal?
No, it’s not. Under the labor law, you are considered an employee, which is defined as someone who is permitted to work. Even though you are working for your “aunt,” in the eyes of the law you are still considered an employee.
As an employee, you must be covered by your aunt’s workers’ compensation insurance, and she is required to pay you minimum wage unless you were her spouse, parent or child and she is the sole proprietor or in a partnership – but that is not the case here.
Under California law, since corporations do not have children, no family relationship, including that of a spouse or child is exempt from the workers’ comp and minimum wage requirements.
If the family member (worker) is a minor, then the minor will have to obtain a work permit, even if the minor is the owner’s son or daughter. If you need to obtain a work permit for a minor, one can be obtained from their high school.
There are special rules that apply to hours worked during the school year. Also, minors cannot work in any business that could endanger their health or safety.
Los Angeles Employment Law Attorney
If you need further information about your rights under California law, do not hesitate to reach out to our Harvard Lawyer Alan Burton Newman. All of our initial consultations are free and we take cases on a contingency fee basis.
Know your rights! Contact us today for a free case evaluation.