Q: Question regarding employment change from hourly to pay per visit.
I work for a home health company and drive to patients' homes for visits. I have been doing this for 5 years and have been paid hourly by my employer. This includes drive time to each home and mileage.
On Tuesday we were notified that we would be switching to pay per visit in two weeks and would no longer be hourly. We will be keeping our benefits but from what I hear will no longer be paid for our drive time. We won't find out our new rate or the details until next week.
I drive 60-90 miles per day in L.A. County to complete my visits with a 1/3 of my day being driving alone.
Can I quit and file for unemployment while I look for a new job when the switch takes place? I'll most likely have a substantial pay reduction from the change and will need to find a new job. I also won't work for a company that shows so little respect and consideration for its employees that it makes a change like this and makes them wait a week to find out what their new pay rates will be.
A: Your employer is obligated under the Labor Code and Wage Orders to pay you at least minimum wage for every hour "worked". In your case, since travel by car is a part of your job, the drive time is compensable, as is the expense, reimbursable under the IRS guidelines. Can you quit and file for unemployment if your employer does not pay you in accordance with the Labor Code? Probably. You have to present it properly to the EDD so they understand that the employer is engaging in Wage Theft. If you are really mad about it why not work for a couple of weeks under the new system and then file a claim with the LC for non payment of wages, non payment of expenses, waiting time penalties, liquidated damages and interest? It would be a better way and the employer would be on record with the LC about what they did. You could even go class action.
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A: Your employer is likely violating the California Labor Code by not compensating you for the travel time to and from the various locations you must travel between. Whether you can quit and receive unemployment insurance benefits is not entirely clear. A voluntary quit will usually disqualify the employee from benefits. However, if the employee can establish good cause for the quit, the EDD will consider the quit to be not voluntary. Take a look here for more on how the EDD looks at a voluntary quit and the good cause needed to avoid that finding:
Good luck to you.
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