Minimum Wage & Overtime Pay For Employees In California 

Although there are some exceptions, almost all employees in California must be paid the minimum wage as required by state law. Presently, the employee minimum wage applicable to employers in California with 25 or less employees is $14.00 per hour. The employee minimum wage applicable to employers in California with 26 or more employees is $15.00 per hour.

California’s schedule for new state minimum wage increases can be accessed by clicking here.

An employee CANNOT agree to work for less than the minimum wage.  The minimum wage is an obligation of the employer and CANNOT BE WAIVED by agreement, including collective bargaining agreements.

In California, the general overtime provisions are that a nonexempt employee 18 years of age or older, or any minor employee 16 or 17 years of age who is not required by law to attend school and is not otherwise prohibited by law from engaging in the subject work, shall not be employed more than eight hours in any workday or more than 40 hours in any workweek unless he or she receives one and one-half times his or her regular rate of pay for all hours worked over eight hours in any workday and over 40 hours in the workweek or double time.

Eight hours of labor constitutes a day’s work, and employment beyond eight hours in any workday or more than six days in any workweek requires the employee to be compensated for the overtime at not less than:

One and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight hours up to and including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek; and

Double the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.

In California, there are a number of exemptions from the overtime law. There are also a number of exceptions to the general overtime law. An “exemption” means that the overtime law does not apply to a particular classification of employees, and an “exception” means that overtime is paid to a certain classification of employees on a basis that differs from that stated above.

Minimum Wage Exceptions

There are some employees who are exempt from the minimum wage law, such as outside salespersons, individuals who are the parent, spouse, or child of the employer, and apprentices regularly indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

There also is an exception for learners, and there are exceptions for employees who are mentally or physically disabled, or both, and for nonprofit organizations, such as sheltered workshops or rehabilitation facilities that employ disabled workers.

Differences Between State, Local & Federal Minimum Wage

Most employers in California are subject to both the federal and state minimum wage laws. Also, local entities (cities and counties) are allowed to enact minimum wage rates and several cities have recently adopted ordinances which establish a higher minimum wage rate for employees working within their local jurisdiction.

When there are conflicting requirements in the laws, an employer must follow the stricter standard; that is, the one that is the most beneficial to the employee. Thus, since California’s current law requires a higher minimum wage rate than does the federal law, all employers in California who are subject to both laws must pay the state minimum wage rate unless their employees are exempt under California law. Similarly, if a local entity (city or county) has adopted a higher minimum wage, employees must be paid the local wage where it is higher than the state or federal minimum wage rates.

Source: California Department of Industrial Relations, Labor Commissioner’s Office, Minimum Wage & Overtime (Accessed 1/20/22); U.S. Department of Labor, State Minimum Wage Laws (Accessed 1/24/2022).

Employees Who Have Been Victims Of Employer Wage & Hour Violations

Workers who believe they are victims of employer wage and hour violations are encouraged to contact Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. by completing the form above on the right or via [email protected] to request a free, no-obligation evaluation of potential legal claims. 

Kehoe Law Firm, P.C.