Minimum Wage Law in California

california minimum wage

Do you know the minimum wage laws in California?

If not, it’s good to inform yourself.

You can prevent an employer from taking advantage of you with some knowledge.

Or you can hold an employer accountable for wage theft.

The rate for minimum wage in California is significantly higher than the federal rate.

If you are not making enough under state law, you can take legal action to recover what you should have earned. 

Our skilled attorneys at Starpoint Law are here to make sure employers pay for their unlawful behavior and respect the rights of their employees.

Take a look at our brief review of your rights under California’s minimum wage laws. 

What Is the Minimum Wage in California?

Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but if a state’s minimum wage laws demand higher pay for employees, employers must pay the state’s minimum wage.

In California, employers with 25 or fewer employees must pay their employees at least $14 per hour.

If an employer has more than 25 employees, it must pay its employees at least $15 per hour. 

California Minimum Wage Increases

The current state minimum wage rates are just for minimum wage in California in 2022.

By law, California minimum wage has increased yearly since 2017, and it is set to increase at least once more.

On January 1, 2023, employers with workforces of any size must pay their employees at least $15 an hour.

This increase will happen unless the governor has a particular reason to suspend it. 

Local Minimum Wage

Depending on where you work in California, you might be entitled to minimum wage higher than what the state requires.

Several California cities require employers to pay a higher minimum wage.

Currently, Emeryville requires employers to pay the highest rate of minimum wage at $17.68 per hour. 

Minimum Wage Exceptions

Most employees must receive minimum wage for their work, but there are some exceptions to this rule.

In California, employers do not have to pay minimum wage to “exempt” employees or employees who fall into certain exceptions.

Exempt and excepted employees include: 

  • Outside salespeople,
  • Certain employees who are immediate relatives of the employer (i.e., parent, spouse, or child),
  • Employees who are “learners,”
  • Certain employees with physical or mental disabilities, and
  • Employees with physical or mental disabilities who work for certain licensed nonprofit organizations. 

Learners are employees who do not have previous experience in their fields of work.

A qualified employee can be a learner for only their first 160 hours of work, and they cannot make less than 85% of the standard minimum wage. 

You want to make sure your employer is following all the minimum wage laws applicable to your particular situation.

As you can see, making sure your employer complies with all the laws can be complicated.

An experienced employment attorney can ensure that no rule (or penny) is missed when fighting an employer who shortchanges you. 

Filing a Wage Complaint

If you are entitled to minimum wage, and your employer fails to properly pay you, your employer has committed wage theft.

Victims of wage theft can file wage claims with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.

You have three years to file a wage claim against an employer violating minimum wage laws

Let Us Help You 

Do not hesitate to fight for what your work is worth, and do not underestimate what a good attorney can do for you.

At Starpoint Law, we have won high settlements for mistreated employees.

Our experienced California attorneys lead with empathy and one-on-one attention to make sure our clients receive the best advocacy and outcomes for their unique situations.

Please call us at 310-424-9971 or contact us online to tell us your story. We are here to help you.

Author Photo

Aidin Ghavimi

Aidin is a partner at Starpoint LC, Attorneys at Law, and focuses on personal injury and employment law cases in and around Southern California. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Loyola School of Law and his Bachelor’s from USC. Aidin’s primary goal is to bring justice to his clients and to ensure they are able to move on with their lives after a serious injury.

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