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California Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws

Posted by Eric Kingsley | Oct 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

Minimum Wage and Overtime in California

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Are you getting paid the right amount by your employer? The federal government and the state of California set minimum wage and overtime laws that must be followed by employers. Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in California is $10.00 per hour (California minimum wage). However, your employer might be required to pay you more than the state minimum wage. In addition, it is important to note that some employees 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. More information concerning the “Minimum Wage Order”(MW-2014).

Your employer might need to pay you more than the state minimum wage because cities and counties are allowed to enact minimum wage rates.

Several California cities have recently adopted ordinances which establish a higher minimum wage. This means that you should be paid more if you are an employee working within one of these local jurisdictions. When there are conflicting requirements in the laws (federal, state and local), the employer must follow the stricter standard. Basically, the one that is the most beneficial to the employee (i.e., the higher minimum wage).

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 because it is higher; unless their employees are exempt under California law. In the same respect, if a city or county has adopted a higher minimum wage, employees must be paid the local wage if it is higher than the state or federal minimum wage.

You might ask, can an employee agree to work for less than the minimum wage? The answer is NO. The minimum wage is an obligation of the employer and cannot be waived by any agreement, including collective bargaining agreements. More information on wage and hour laws in California.


Both the federal government and the state of California mandate a maximum number of hours that may be worked in a week, and both systems mandate the payment of overtime for hours worked over that maximum. California law goes above and beyond federal law with respect to both minimum wage and maximum hour law, and it mandates certain rest periods and meal breaks that are not required by the federal government. More information about overtime regulations and overtime laws in California.

Whether you are paid on an hourly, salary, or commission basis—or whether you are a salesperson, banking employee, factory worker, or housekeeper working in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, or San Diego, one of our experienced wage attorneys at Kingsley & Kingsley can help you collect unpaid wages or seek recourse for unfair treatment. Contact us for more information or if you have any questions.

Additional information is available on our website.

About the Author

Eric Kingsley

In practice since 1996, the firm's lawyer and co-founder, Eric B. Kingsley, has litigated complex cases and written numerous appeals in state and federal courts on behalf of the California law firm Kingsley & Kingsley, including More than 150 collective actions. Mr. Kingsley focuses his practice ...


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