California Wage and Hour LawsHow much will I get paid? The question that is on everyone’s mind when starting a new job. We know that money is an important part of anyone’s livelihood. Living in Los Angeles is especially determinant on how much money you make. It’s an expensive city, and if you’re not making enough money, then living in LA can be difficult and maybe even impossible. Let’s look at the California wage and hour laws to make sure you are getting paid lawfully. Nobody wants to be snubbed of their earnings. California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to make sure your employers are paying you in a legal fashion and that you are receiving what is rightfully yours from you labor.

While there are genuine mistakes made by employers, a lot of times, if an employer is not following wage and hour regulations they are doing so purposely in order to not have to pay employees what they are entitled to. Yes, it’s unfortunate and malicious, but that’s why our lawyers are here to fight for you.

What are the wage laws for independent contractors?

One way in which employers get around following certain labor codes is by misclassifying a worker as an independent contractor. Independent contractors are workers who are in business for themselves. Usually they can take on multiple jobs at the same time and work on a freelance basis. However, there is no actual legal term for independent contractor according to California’s Department of Industrial Relations. However, if there is an employment status issue, Labor Code 3357 rules that that person will be regarded as an employee. Reasons why employers will try to classify their employers as independent contractors are to avoid payroll taxes, to avoid paying minimum wage and overtime, not having to comply with break requirements, not having to pay for workers’ compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and social security, and not having to reimburse the employer for certain job expenses. In an employer’s sly moves of avoiding extra expenses, you may be deprived of your rights and should seek help from one of our experienced employment attorneys.

The Employment Development Departments (EDD) and Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) help determine the status of independent contractors. The EDD looks at employment-related taxes, and requires a employer to report an independent contractor if you require a 1099 form to be filled out by the worker, the employer is paying the independent contractor $600 or more, and the independent contractor is an individual. The DLSE is concerned with who the wage, hour, and workers’ compensation laws apply to. Have you been misclassified as an independent contractor? If you know you have been voluntarily and willfully misclassified as an independent contractor, then you have the right to file a complaint. This means you have been unlawfully deprived of workers’ compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, your right to join a union, and more. Penalties to employers can range from $5,000 to $25,000. If you need help fighting against unlawful employers, get in contact with one of our employment lawyers; so that you can start gaining back the benefits you are entitled to from your job.

What is the minimum wage?

Schedule for California Minimum Wage rate 2017-2023.

DateMinimum Wage for Employers with 25 Employees or LessMinimum Wage for Employers with 26 Employees or More
January 1, 2017$10.00/hour$10.50/hour
January 1, 2018$10.50/hour$11.00/hour
January 1, 2019$11.00/hour$12.00/hour
January 1, 2020$12.00/hour$13.00/hour
January 1, 2021$13.00/hour$14.00/hour
January 1, 2022$14.00/hour$15.00/hour
January 1, 2023$15.00/hour 

Can my employer force me to work overtime?

What are California wage and hour laws?

  • Minimum wage: The minimum wage in California for employers with 26 or more employees is $12 an hour. For 25 or less, the minimum wage is $11. The wage will increase to $15 by 2022 for employers with 26 or more employees and by 2023 for companies with 25 or less employees.
  • Overtime: Employers must pay an employee 1.5 times their regular pay rate for every hour over 40 hours in a week worked, for a workday longer than 8 hours, or for the first 8 hours of a 7th consecutive day of work. An employer must pay 2 times an employee’s regular pay rate for any workday over 12 hours long and any hours after the first 8 on the 7th consecutive work day.
  • Meals and breaks: Employers must allow at least a 30 min break to an employee who works more than 5 consecutive hours. If the employee is not completely relieved of all job duties and cannot leave the work premises, then they must be paid for the meal break.
  • Tips: There is no reduced wage for employees who receive tips. Tips must be collected in a pool and distributed based on predetermined criteria. Owners, managers, and supervisors are not included in the tip pool.
  • Subminimum wage: Employers can pay employees with disabilities a wage rate that is lower than the standard minimum wage only if they have obtained a license to do so from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
  • Trainees: Employers must pay trainees at least 85% of the minimum wage for the first 160 hours of employment.
  • Apprentices: The Industrial Welfare Commission can establish a subminimum wage for apprentices.
  • Learners: Non trainee learners must be paid the standard minimum wage.
  • Student learners: Non trainee student workers must be paid the standard minimum wage.
  • Student workers: Student workers must be paid the standard minimum wage.
  • Hours worked: Employers must pay employees for all hours worked, which is defined as time an employee is subject to the employer’s control and all the time the employer is suffered or permitted to work, regardless if they are required to work or not.
  • Workweek: A workweek is considered any 7 consecutive 24 hour periods that begin the same calendar day each week.
  • Waiting time: Employers must count waiting or standby time as hours worked if the employee is unable to use the time for their own purposes. However, employees can pay a lower wage rate during these times.
  • On-call time: Employers must pay minimum wage for the time an employee is on call if the employee must stay on the premises or near the premises and are unable to use the time for their own purposes.
  • Sleeping time: Employee sleep time must be counted as hours worked if the shift is less than 24 hours. For shifts over 24 hours, if the employee is provided a place to sleep and receives 8 hours of sleep, then 8 hours can be deducted from hours worked. If the employee gets 5 or less hours, they must be counted as hours worked.
  • Travel time: Employers must count any travel time when an employee is required to travel as hours worked.
  • Meeting, lecture, and training: Employees must meet standard minimum wage rate when a meeting, lecture, or training unless it is outside of regular working hours, attendance is voluntary, it’s not directly related to the employee’s job, and the employee does not perform productive work.
  • Leave: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave, but most employers must allow for sick leave. If an employee is summoned for jury duty, the employer does not have to pay them for that time away, but they cannot discharge or penalize the employee for going to jury duty. With three days notice, and employee can get paid up to 2 hours paid for voting leave.
  • Frequency of wage payments: Employers must pay their employees twice a month which must be designated prior to the payments. Wages from the 1st to the 15th of the month cannot be paid later than the 26th, and wages from the 16th to the end of the month cannot be paid later than the 10th of the next month. Overtime payment cannot be later than the payday for the next regular payroll period that the wages were earned.

Common Wage Violations in California

California Wage and Hour Laws

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There are plenty more laws surrounding California wage and hour provisions. If you need help sifting through them or have questions regarding your rights as a California employee, feel free to come in to one of our offices. You can talk with one of our employment attorneys free of charge, and if you do have a case, we will take it on for free as well. Our zero-fee guarantee promises you will not have to pay anything unless we win your case. Our firm wants to make sure you are being valued as an employee and that your employer is not illegally withholding wages and benefits from you. Come in today make sure are exercising your rights as a hard working employee.